CEGEP Notes: Knowledge

September 2017 ยท 4 minute read

Week 1


Reasons to doubt


Law of non contradiction: Where 2 statements, 1 can be true. Both cannot be true.


Personal experience is generally true UNLESS exception: Illusion, perception, invalid memory, emotions, ego, etc

Unfounded beliefs

Subjective relativism, social relativism: Having a feeling that something is true based on your experience and using it to validate preconceived notions.

Basing beliefs on feelings.


Pitfalls of critical thinking

2 types of errors: - Errors we make with evidence - Contextual pitfalls

Confirmation bias: Having a belief and searching for evidence to confirm it and disregarding evidence which contradicts it.

We prefer evidence that is available: - Memorable - Striking - Can think of examples - Easy to find

Selective attention: We can only process some sensory data at a time. We ignore other data that our brain says is unimportant. However, sometimes we ignore the data we should have noted.

Priming: When lead to the right answer based on context (SO_P)

Framing: How something is framed/described changes the way we think about it (25% fat, 75% lean)

Expectation: We often see what we expect to see, especially in vague situations.

Week 2


Argument Structures

Conclusion (I like snow) => Reason 1, Reason 2 > Do the reasons justify the conclusion?

Reason 1, Reason 2 => Conclusion (I like snow) > Do the reasons logically lead to the conclusion

Fallacies are attempts to make an argument, but with a logical mistake.

Fallacies (Page 5)

Type 1: Irrelevant Argument (Not relevant to conclusion) Type 2: Illogical (non-sequitur)

Irrelevant Fallacies

Ad Hominem: Against the man, call them a name and dismiss their argument

Tu Quoque: You are Another!, variant of Ad Hominem when you call someone a hypocrite and reject their argument

Poison the Well: Variant of Ad Hominem where all subsequent arguments of a person are rejected because he is that person.

Equivocation: Word gets used multiple times but with different meanings. > All trees have bark. Every dog barks. Therefore, every dog is a tree.

Burden of Proof/Appeal to ignorance: Pointing to a lack of contrary evidence as evidence to an allegation.

Appeal to tradition: Accepting or rejecting a claim based on previous events. > “Change is scary” > “X has always been fine, therefore X is right”

Appeal to popularity/Jumping on the bandwagon: Many people believing something, does not make it true.

The genetic fallacy: Opposite of Poison the Well

Appeal to Authority: Accepting something because a person of authority said so.

Hasty Generalisations: when we draw conclusions based on an inadequate sample size > Both weightlifters I met took steroids, therefore all weightlifters take them.

Faulty Analogy: Comparing things that aren’t similar enough

Illogical Fallacies

The Strawman: Willful misrepresentation of an argument in order to dismiss it easily.

The Fallacy of Division: Attempt to convince someone that a part is the same as the whole. > Huge building =/= huge apartment

The Fallacy of Composition: Attempt to convince that the whole is the same as a part. > Huge apartment =/= Huge building

The False Dichotomy: Assumption that there are fewer possibilities than there actually are

The Casual Fallacy/Post hoc ergo Propter Hoc/after this, therefore this: Assume that a preceding event was the cause of an effect. > The rooster yells before the sunrise, therefore the rooster caused the sunrise > Thunder causes lightning

Slippery Slope:

Lost you pen = no pen = no notes = no study = fail = no diploma = no work = no money = no food = death

Losing your pen will make you die

Circular reasoning: An argument that relies on the on the conclusion being true.

X because Y, Y because Z, Z because X

Red Herring: > We can’t worry about the environment, we’re in the middle of a war!