Reed: AE2 Critical Thinking

In December, students learned about arguments and how to re-construct them into premises and a conclusion. By doing this, students could more easily pick up on problems that an argument might have such as identifying logical fallacies that might exist in the premises. For instance, observe the following statement:

“Everyone says ‘551 Horai’ dumplings are the tastiest ones, so I should buy them.”

If we dissect this into its constituent parts, we can derive something like:

  • Premise 1: I like delicious food (embedded assumption; others are possible too).
  • Premise 2: Everyone says ‘551 Horai’ dumplings have the best taste.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, I should buy ‘551 Horai’ dumplings.

The logical fallacy here is called the bandwagon fallacy, which is using popularity as a grounds for concluding something about the world or taking some action. In this case, it may not be a good idea to buy a particular brand of something simply because many people have said that it’s the best one of its kind. Discussing similar examples to the above, students said things like, “even though many people like it, it might not be the tastiest to me.”