There’s a fallacy I recently found out about that struck me as a little more than odd and somewhat hard to wrap my head around.
If skipping around fallacies trying to make an argument sound wasn’t already delicate enough, there’s a fallacy known as the fallacy fallacy.
The fallacy fallacy works in a way that just because a fallacy was committed in an argument, doesn’t mean the defending position was false.
A statement that is true can still be argued wrong and improperly enough for someone to call out a fallacy that was used. But that does not mean the initial point was wrong.
It’s similar to correlation does not imply causation. A may be true and B may be true, but not because of each other and arguing they are caused by the same thing is wrong, but they can both still be true.
Another example being, I am typing this out because I am good at basketball. I am not good at basketball, but that doesn’t mean I am not still typing this out.
A fallacy can be involved when arguing toward something, but you may still be in the right, just not translating the argument well.
It can be hard to avoid this because this means you have to not only avoid fallacies yourself when arguing, but your opponents fallacies may not necessarily be useful for deconstructing their argument.
Don’t Shoot The Message
Everyone knows don’t shoot the messenger because they are the ones delivering the information, whether good or bad, making it not their fault if something is not taken well.
But in this case, the fallacy fallacy makes the messenger accountable and the message can still be properly true. A messenger can be incorrect while the message itself was wrongly presented while still holding true.
It is possible someone doesn’t know how to defend their true statements and cannot avoid resulting back to ad hominem or straw man when trying to argue an opponent.
Someone arguing a point who results in attacking the other opponent instead of their point to be made does not mean they are wrong. They just lack the skills or knowledge to properly justify their argument or properly deconstruct their opponents argument.
It’s interesting to think about because if someone does not have the reputation or credibility to be making a point, does not mean their information will always be flawed.
Assuming the boy who cried wolf is tricking the villagers once again may make sense, but that doesn’t mean one time he may not be lying.
Fallacy Fallacy Fallacy
This is where it is going to get a little confusing because if you haven’t guessed it already, there’s a deeper level to this. Even more after, but we are going to analyze the top layer.
Saying a fallacy fallacy is being involved, doesn’t mean that the point can be still be true in the light of using the fallacy fallacy as a defense for not having a defense.
Looking at it this way, a fallacy is an improper argument that doesn’t hold itself up and does not follow proper logic.
A fallacy fallacy is when proving an argument has committed a fallacy does not always mean the arguing point is false.
A fallacy fallacy fallacy says that disproving argument points are irrelevant to disproving the position itself but does provide support that the position is false.
As confusing as this may sound (because it obviously is) there can be more than one layer to a fallacy in the light that fallacies are used when points being made in an argument are not supporting the argument. However, fallacies do not imply a position is false if used at an improper time.
Fallacies can be useful, but sometimes hard to understand because they can be used to deconstruct an argument while not always deconstructing the truth of the point.
While arguing back, avoiding fallacies can be tricky as falling down one is very easy to do.
Fallacies can stack up on themselves whether including more fallacies or even concluding that a fallacy makes something false.
To prevent this from happening and avoiding the confusion along with exponential fallacies, keep an argument bold and particular to it’s facts and supporting points while making sure not to stray into fallacy territory.