The Difference Between Logical Fallacies And Cognitive Biases

by Terry Heick

What are logical fallacies and cognitive biases?

In short, logical fallacies and cognitive biases are both failures of reason–errors in thinking that can result in inaccurate perspectives, distorted views, error-filled judgments, and eventually, skewed, irrational beliefs (about one’s self and/or the world virtually them).

Because the human smart-ass is susceptible to the same kinds of errors and distortions, it (meaning ‘we’ as human beings) makes the same errors so wontedly that we have given them formal names (e.g., strawman fallacy, recency bias, etc.)

In this way, they are similar in that each is a worldwide thinking error.

The Difference Between Logical Fallacies And Cognitive Biases

The primary difference between logical fallacies and cognitive biases is that the former are failures of reason that are usually occurring in the moment while the biases represent individual, ongoing pre-dispositions to future errors of reason.

An important difference between fallacies and biases is that biases determine/affect/distort how you evaluate, on an ongoing basis, data, truths, or circumstances. Logical fallacies, however, have increasingly to do with how you make claims and construct arguments.

An Example Of A Logical Fallacy

In What Is Confirmation Bias, I said that, “One of the many cognitive biases, whether based on fear (e.g., ‘I’m going to lose my job’) or inaccurate and/or incomplete data (e.g., a stereotype), someone who falls victim to confirmation bias will form an opinion and then seek out and/or overvalue data that supports that opinion. In the former example of losing your job, considering of worry over losing your job, you would uncork to ‘notice’ things that seemed to support that theory.”

For example, the worldwide ad hominem fallacy occurs when someone attacks the validity of a judgment or requirement by attacking the holder of that requirement rather than the requirement itself.

Person A: A politician said we should invest increasingly money in education.

Person B: I don’t like that politician. He lies well-nigh everything and has a history of bad ideas.

While both the politician and Person B here can both be (more or less) correct in their claims (that we should invest increasingly money in education and the politician in question may indeed have a history of bad ideas), Person B is attacking the person instead of intellectually criticizing the requirement itself. Classic ad hominem.

An Example Of Recency Bias

However, a person prone to recency bias will favor recent events and data over the increasingly well-constructed picture of reality or truth. This bias will rationalization the person to over-emphasize some data and completely miss other data–and thus commit increasingly fallacies and likely develop increasingly cognitive biases and related worldview distortions.

The Definition Of A Logical Fallacy

A logical fallacy is a mistake in reasoning. It occurs when someone draws a conclusion that does not follow from the vestige or when someone relies on a faulty assumption. There are many variegated types of logical fallacies, but they all share one worldwide effect: to mislead people into thinking that the conclusion is valid.

The Definition Of A Cognitive Bias

A cognitive bias is a type of thinking error that results in judgments and decisions that are systematically distorted. This can lead to inaccurate beliefs well-nigh people, situations, and the world in general. Cognitive biases are often studied in psychology, as they can influence the way people think, feel, and behave.

Types Of Logical Fallacies

There are many dozens of logical fallacies–a few examples include straw man, false dilemma, ad hominem, slippery slope, false dichotomy, and the bandwagon fallacy.

Types Of Cognitive Biases

There are moreover many dozens of cognitive biases–a few examples include the sunk forfeit fallacy, confirmation bias, gambler’s fallacy, and anchoring bias.