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Logical fallacies as informational shortcuts

Abstract

The paper argues that the two best known formal logical fallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer these fallacies become to a reasoning that is not only informationally useful but also logically valid.

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Author information

Correspondence to Luciano Floridi.

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Floridi, L. Logical fallacies as informational shortcuts. Synthese 167, 317–325 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-008-9410-y

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Keywords

  • Affirming the consequent
  • Bayes’ theorem
  • Denying the antecedent
  • Formal fallacies
  • Rationality