Circles and analogies in public health reasoning

Cummings, L., 2014. Circles and analogies in public health reasoning. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines, 29 (2), pp. 35-59. ISSN 1093-1082


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The study of the fallacies has changed almost beyond recognition since Charles Hamblin called for a radical reappraisal of this area of logical inquiry in his 1970 book Fallacies. The “witless examples of his forbears” to which Hamblin referred have largely been replaced by more authentic cases of the fallacies in actual use. It is now not unusual for fallacy and argumentation theorists to draw on actual sources for examples of how the fallacies are used in our everyday reasoning. However, an aspect of this move towards greater authenticity in the study of the fallacies, an aspect which has been almost universally neglected, is the attempt to subject the fallacies to empirical testing of the type which is more commonly associated with psychological experiments on reasoning. This paper addresses this omission in research on the fallacies by examining how subjects use two fallacies – circular argument and analogical argument – during a reasoning task in which subjects are required to consider a number of public health scenarios. Results are discussed in relation to a view of the fallacies as cognitive heuristics that facilitate reasoning in a context of uncertainty.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines
Creators: Cummings, L.
Publisher: Philosophy Documentation Center
Place of Publication: Charlottesville, Virginia
Date: 2014
Volume: 29
Number: 2
ISSN: 1093-1082
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:44
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:05

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