I enjoy the expression of logical fallacies being the Achilles hill of critical thinking. It is interesting how sometimes the mind subtly conveys its ideas with illustrations of combat. The Achilles hill causes the mind to reflect on a historical warrior and the method of his defeat. Once the Achilles hill is crippled, the entire body collapses. Similarly, if logic is the strength of critical thinking, and I would add having a sound mind, then the building of logical reasoning is a virtue. It is a virtue that is necessary for peaceful and aggressive gains. If the intent for some is to manipulate others with logical fallacies, then those on the defensive position must build a fortress around their mind. That fortress consists of knowledge of the enemy’s arsenal and weapons of war against manipulation, considerably the logical fallacies.
Below are a couple of modern 2020 political ads. To remain as objective as possible, I have chosen ads of both Trump and Biden.
In the first video, at 17 seconds, the narrator claims Biden is on the side of working families because he is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. The fallacy there is stereotyping. It is not necessarily true that all members of Scranton, Pennsylvania, are hard-working blue-collar individuals. It does not necessarily follow that Biden will remain loyally thoughtful to hard-working laborers. At 57 seconds, Biden states the American idea is more powerful than any dictator or tyrant and flashes a picture of President Trump. There are three logical fallacies. The first is an appeal to force. It is a scare tactic against the American people to fear President Trump without providing any facts. Hasty conclusion or generalization is the second fallacy since there is a lack of evidence. Finally, the third logical fallacy is a smear tactic that unjustly represents his opponent’s position. Below is a video ad of President Trump.
The beginning of the ad begins with the fallacy of poisoning the well. Biden eludes he would not be the oldest American President because Winston Churchill was older than him when he served as Prime Minister of England. The conflict is that Biden’s memory failed him thinking Winston Churchill was an American President. President Trump uses that video clip to attack and discredit his opponent for having the capacity to manage the country effectively. Besides smear tactics and as humorous as this video was, its entire conclusion is a non-sequitur. The evidence provided to support the conclusion that Biden was trying to reveal state secrets by eluding to “the thing” was weak and irrelevant. It makes more sense that Biden’s memory was failing him again as he was trying to quote “the thing” from our nation’s founding documents.