- Education and Science»
- Elementary, Middle School & High School
Assumptions and Fallacies
An assumption is a belief or an idea that we have with little or no evidence. Many times we base our assumptions on knowledge of prior experiences in our lives. Sometimes we learn the hard way that assumptions are not always correct. Even if your assumption is correct, it is not knowledge and you need information to backup your assumption. In order to prove or disprove an assumption we must focus on our critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is a process of breaking down a topic and analyzing it to get a clearer picture of what we are seeing. Critical thinking is also about producing as many ideas or solutions as possible, and then using that evidence to either prove or disprove these possibilities or assumptions. Assumptions can interfere with our critical thinking skills because rather than asking questions, gathering additional information, critiquing, and analyzing information we often assume we already know the outcome. When you assume something without proving or disproving its credibility, problems can be made worse and questions can go unanswered. If a person does not do the work and determine if their assumption is right or wrong, they are showing signs of poor critical thinking skills.
Fallacies are when you make a mistake in your reasoning. Fallacies are our mind not thinking rationally and deceiving us into thinking something that most rational thinkers know is wrong. Sometimes a person can believe or want to believe in something so much that reasoning with that person is almost impossible. Your mind looks for things that best serve its intentions, even if it is inaccurate. This can make it very difficult to change your opinion, thought, or belief. Being a critical thinker is very important when it comes to problem solving, and fallacies interfere with the principals of critical thinking. You can not think critically if you are not using reasoning. Logic is something that we all have to use when communicating or problem solving and a fallacy goes against all logic. In communication, fallacies can cause problems, whether they are intentional or unintentional. When they are made intentionally it is usually to deceive, confuse, or manipulate others involved in the conversation. When fallacies are made unintentionally it can be just as big of a problem because it can cause a misunderstanding between the people involved in the conversation. So fallacies not only affect our ability to properly communicate, but they also affect our ability to properly use our critical thinking skills.
Where is it the most damaging?
Do assumptions and fallacies have a more negative effect on your personal or professional life?
When it comes to critical thinking you have to be open minded and able to look at any situation from as many sides as possible. To do this you have to avoid both assumptions and fallacies. Assumptions, even if correct can block you from being able to see the bigger picture. Fallacies are just plan misinformation and goes against reasoning, and this completely stops you from looking at any situation critically. You have to have strong critical thinking skills if you are going to avoid assumptions and fallacies. Having these skills prevent you from having bias or assuming something is right without backing that information up with facts. Fallacies can be avoided by simply using reasoning in your thought process. Not all fallacies are intentional, so they are not always easy to spot yourself, but if you use reason and truly use your critical thinking skills you will avoid them by simply being open minded. Being open minded and using your critical thinking skills allows you to see the situation from multiple angles and will help you avoid those mistakes. It is also important to be a good listener because someone might open your eyes to something you are missing or they just might help you to see the reason that your not aware of.