Avoiding Fallacies


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The Quality Assurance for Human Behavior

Fallacies are the major issue that needs to be managed when dealing with problem solving. This document is a synopsis of the origin of human fallacies and how they can be minimized in order to ensure the quality of what one is doing. It is an excerpt of the book “The Origin of Human Fallacies”. 

The Unicist Ontology of Reasoning Fallacies Until the development of double-dialectical logic, fallacies were considered reasoning or foundation errors. This research has demonstrated that the fallacies are not errors; instead they are functional conducts or behaviors in order to confirm beliefs or needs.

Fallacies might be sustained by four elements::

  • the capacity to reason
  • the capacity to relate emotionally
  • the capacity to elaborate frustrations
  • the strategic intelligence and the strategic stereotype from which the individual approaches reality

Fallacies are not errors

A fallacy is an unconscious lie. A Fallacious behavior is sustained by the ethics based on intentions rather than on acts.

Fallacies are the drivers of many human activities that are made to evade the responsibility that an individual is unable to face. Man needs fallacies to face situations that affect his self-esteem. The paradox is that people gather to share analogous fallacies.

Ordinary people compete with others who have the same strengths and join with those who have the same weaknesses. Therefore, what joins men, among other things, are the fallacies shared as “truths”.

The generation of fallacies has significant benefits

The use of fallacies has significant benefits for the one who poses them. As a universal characteristic, fallacies allow sustaining a parallel reality that works as a comfort zone. This comfort zone opens three different possibilities:

  1. They provide the necessary justifications to transfer personal risks and costs to others.
  2. They allow installing “social viruses” that diminish the productivity of the environment and improve the influence of the individual.
  3. They allow building anti-concepts that work as a “cancer” to destroy some situation that is bothering the individual.

Pilot tests are the natural way that can be used by individuals to avoid fallacies. To develop pilot tests and not only trial and error processes, it is necessary to be “aware” of what one is doing.

1) The Unicist Ontology of the perception fallacies

The purpose of perception fallacies is to achieve that an individual can see what s/he needs to see to ensure that the individual has the place s/he needs to have.

To do so, these fallacies use the perception of apparent or unreal elements based on hypothetical ideas or truths.

The Unicist Ontology of Perception Fallacies Level 1)

Pre-conceptual fallacies

These fallacies are produced by individuals who need to apprehend the essence of reality but do not have the necessary internal freedom to change their pre-concepts. In this case, the individual recognizes and apprehends the external objects based on previous experiences. This perception is considered as valid and remains unchanged. This fallacy appears as a creative approach to reality. This fallacy is one of the fundamentals to sustain human prejudices.

Level 2)

Fallacies of “value judgments”

When an individual seeks to “win at any cost” in an environment, she/he generates a distorted perception of the objects in order to appropriate them. To access this fallacy the individuals need to downgrade the value of the object they want to appropriate in order to avoid assuming an obligation to provide a counterpart. To do so the individual oversimplifies reality to “believe” in the validity of her/his value judgment.

Level 3)

Fallacies of fear

These are the fallacious perceptions that are conditioned by fear that are projected on external objects by an individual. “Failure signs” are perceived in the environment when an individual fears failure. The fallacies of fear are sustained by a personal need to be right and/or occupy a safe place in the environment.

Level 4)

Fallacies that sustain illusions

These are the fallacies in which the individual perceives the attributes she/he needs to perceive on the external object she /he is observing. This projection only includes positive aspects and it implies a denial of the implicit and non-implicit weaknesses of the attributes. “Love at first sight” produces, at the beginning, a fallacious illusion.

2) The Unicist Ontology of Fallacies in Reasoning

A Fallacy is an unconscious lie

Analyzing the evolution of science we will witness that in those cultures in which “truth” stands as a value and where lies are condemned, conditions are ripe for scientific and technological development .

The Unicist Ontology of Individual FallaciesTechnological breakthroughs are not possible in cultures in which appearances prevail over functionality.

In both developing and emerging countries their myths are, as Greeks used to say, short paths to facilitate culture actions and allow for behavioral automatism to simplify the daily action.

In cultures operating at a high level of consciousness, information is a useful datum and knowledge is structured information.

Fallacies rely on an ethics that is based on intentions rather than on acts. The cultures that are based on a functional ethics are perceived as reliable and those that are sustained by an ethics driven by intentions are considered less trustworthy.

The lack of reliability is a natural consequence when the ethics of such culture allows that intentionality supersedes functionality. This is the origin of the “anti-ethic”, which is a fallacious ethic grounded on:

  1. Intentions
  2. Pseudo-morality
  3. Absolute ideologies

 The different levels of reasoning fallacies are:

Level 1)

Naturalist Fallacy – The Fallacy of Taxonomy

When an individual gets a particular data from reality and asserts that reality has the same properties of the particular data. This conclusion includes both physical properties and non-physical properties. They are common in people who face reality from a conceptual type of thought.

Level 2)

Genetic Fallacy – The Fallacy of Doubt

They happen when an individual tries to explain the fundamentals of reality based on the genesis of the knowledge of such a reality. It is based on explaining reality by describing the development of the methodology used to develop the hypothesis of what is believed. These are the fallacies made by people who face reality with a scientific type of thought.

Level 3)

Idealistic Fallacy – The Fallacy of Inaction

It is the case of an individual that confuses “ought to” with “is”. He creates a parallel reality by believing that things are what they should be.  These are common fallacies in people who face reality using analytical thinking.

Level 4)

Categorical Fallacy – The Fallacy of Motion

It takes place when an individual relates elements that belong to different categories. These are typical fallacies of people who face reality with an “operational” type of thought. They need to operate within a certainty that they expect is given by the environment itself.

3) The Unicist Ontology of the Fallacious Myths of Institutions

The fallacious myths of institutions allow avoiding the perceptions of the unsolvable weaknesses of an institution. They sustain the “spirit de corps” of their organizations.

The Unicist Ontology of Institutional Fallacious MythsThey are absolutely necessary although they hinder improvement and expansion. The identification of the “fallacious myths” allows defining the possibilities to influence them.

The positioning of the institutions in an environment defines the type of fallacious myths they need to avoid disgregation. There are basically four possible positionings of an institution:

Fallacious myths

of the value added

Innovation doesn’t imply necessarily the generation of added value. Innovators generate naturally this fallacious myth of added value to justify their innovation. The fallacious myths are based on the potential benefit of an innovation based on the case that the user had the same values of the innovator.

Fallacious myths of ethics

They generate fallacious myths of ethics to sustain their dominant position and the imposition of their standards. This ethics has a strong moral basement.

This fallacious myth is sustained by a strong feeling of impunity based on their dominating role.

Fallacious myths of self-sufficiency

Differentiated participants are followers; therefore they do not invest in many of the fields in which the Nr. 1 invests, such as: image building, training, R&D, etc. They generate the fallacious myths of self-sufficiency when the environment demands the investments they are not willing to make.

Fallacious myths of justification

These are organizations based on survivors’ ethics. They need to justify the actions they need to do to survive when they are not able to deal with the ethics of a market. Justifications define the need of actions. The fallacious myth of justification sustains the ethics of non differentiated participants’ actions.

4) The Unicist Ontology of social fallacious myths

The social fallacious myths of a country need to be learned in order to know the limits of the possibilities to deal with that society when one is an alien.

The Unicist Ontology of Social Fallacious MythsThey need to be known in order to define the weaknesses that need to be strengthened when the objective is to foster the evolution of a country.

The fallacious myths

of ethics

It establishes an ethical behavior strongly influenced by the moral values. It transforms ethics into morals, leaving aside the functionality of ethical behavior.

The fallacious myths

of Institutionalization

“L’État c’est moi” is the demonstration of the fallacious myth of institutionalization in which the role of the institutions and their representatives are merged and confused.

A fallacious myth of institutionalization exists when the rules for those who exert the power are different from those who do not exert power.

The fallacious myths of equal rights

Rights are not independent from obligations. But subsistent cultures make the rights  independent from obligations in order to ensure the equal opportunities of their ethics. “Equal rights” becomes a fallacious myth when the rights are independent from obligations.

The fallacious myths of individual rights

Individual rights are the sole concern of survivors. That is why survivors behave as fundamentalists. “Individual rights” become a fallacious myth when the consequence of exerting “individual rights” exceeds the boundaries of individual actions and affects the environment.

5) How to avoid fallacies?

The methodology for systemic problem solving was developed to allow people who have empirical experience in some field to participate in Think Tanks to solve complex problems or develop R&D projects . The methodology itself is a tool that inhibits fallacious reasoning. Click on the image to access.

The methodology for systemic problem solving was developed to allow people who have empirical experience in some field to participate in Think Tanks to solve complex problems or develop R&D projects . The methodology itself is a tool that inhibits fallacious reasoning. Click on the image to access.

The research on fallacies demonstrated that they are a fundamental element in the adaptation process of humans.

On the one hand fallacies generate a decrease in man’s responsibility for his action with regard to his environment, since it allows him to face realities on the basis of a parallel reality.

On the other hand it showed that developed cultures use all the mechanisms possible to avoid falling into fallacies since these imply a high individual and social cost.

Inhibiting fallacies

The avoidance of fallacies includes the integration of two activities with a personal attitude towards the generation of value.

The basic condition to avoid fallacies is to have the necessary humbleness to confirm all what one thinks by real actions and measuring the corresponding results.

The use of the ethics of fundaments and the use of destructive tests is what allows avoiding fallacies in decision making.

These fundaments need to be integrated with the empirical justifications that are produced when the results are being measured.

But it is necessary to have a true intention of generating added value in order to use these approaches to avoid fallacies.

The following description of the three elements provides a operational solution to avoid fallacies. This process is only meaningful when dealing with significant complex problems.

A) The capacity to elaborate frustrations as an antidote

The discovery that reality is different from what we have intuited is necessarily the acceptance of a fallacy. Therefore, this situation must be “accepted”.

The Unicist Ontology of Antidotes for Fallacies The acceptance of fallacies depends on the energy an individual has to amend her/his fallacy. This energy consumption has no benefit. The unique benefit is given by the learning process.

The capacity of investing this energy and elaborate the frustration of a fallacy depends on the functionality of their ego:

  1. If they seek to confirm their ideas
  2. If they need that their opinion is confirmed by others
  3. If they feel the pleasure to do something
  4. If they feel the pleasure in adding value

In the first three cases the frustration elaboration capacity is relatively low. Only when the ego is deposited in adding value, the speed to recognize a fallacy is part of a value generating system that includes the needs and the benefits of all. In this case, individuals benefit from recognizing their fallacy as soon as they can.

B) Fundaments as antidotes to fallacies

The fundaments of a given reality involves providing reasonable, understandable and verifiable arguments. This implies explaining the way something works in such a way that it is comprehensible to anyone who has to interact with that reality. When the fundaments cannot be understood or cannot be verified, they become a statement of truth. On this basis, we have discovered five levels of fundaments:

Types of FoundationsDescriptive-analogical

Fundaments

We make an analogy when, for example, we state that what happens to one person will happen to someone else just because he/she is a person too. Somehow, analogies annul fundaments, because from this point of view, all apparently similar realities operate in the same way.

Empirical Fundaments

Empirical fundaments result from the systematization of analogous experiences. Opinion surveys and statistical quality control are examples of empirical fundaments.

Logical Fundaments

Finding logical fundaments implies the existence of formal rules of logical inference within a context. It is a logical explanation of a given reality, and implies the possibility of formalizing that reality.

Causal fundaments

Causal fundaments describe the systemic structure of a specific reality, which imply understanding its functional interrelations. It implies the use of scientific tools for analysis and synthesis, and it operates according to the cause-effect relations between the parts integrating the system.

Conceptual Fundaments

Conceptual fundaments require the knowledge of the conceptual structure of the reality. In order to make concepts operable, the knowledge of their sub-concepts is necessary. It implies knowing the natural laws ruling the particular field of reality that is being approached.

C) Destructive Tests as Antidotes to Fallacies

Destructive testing allows defining the limits of the validity of knowledge considering that there are always, on the one hand, conceptual limits and, on the other, operational limits.

The Unicist Ontology of Destructive Tests There are different models of destructive tests:

1) Substitute Clinics

This approach implies developing a real solution, comparing this solution with its substitutes and finding out the SWOT they both generate and the response of the environment.

2) Research of

Complex Systems

It implies finding the limits of the validity of substitutes based on experiencing, using acceptable preexisting knowledge and comparing it with the knowledge that is being tested.

3) Ontological Reverse Engineering

This implies using the technology of reverse-engineering comparing succedaneum solutions with the solution that is being tested.

4) Open Clinics

This is the final stage before real application. It requires developing a real solution for a real problem and allowing the context chooses between the succedaneum solutions and the one that has been developed.

It implies finding the SWOT that the solution generates and the response of the environment-

5) Real Operation

The real operation is what defines the final limits of the knowledge that is being tested.

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