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Bo Bennett's criteria distinguishing a logical fallacy from a pseudo-logical fallacy has three parts. The third part is:

  1. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Douglas Walton, after studying arguments from ignorance, claims that a fallacy in general is a tactic of deception: (page 270-1)

...a fallacy is a sequence of argumentation used in a context of dialogue (of which there may be many types) as a tactic of deception to trick a speech partner in an exchange, or as an underlying systematic, and serious type of error reasoning. Note that a fallacy, according to this conception, is not just any error, weak argument, or violation of a rule of dialogue, but a particularly serious and systematic type of error or sophistical tactic of an identifiable kind, used in argumentation to obstruct a goal of dialogue, or interfere with its realization.

This association of fallacy with deception, rather than rationality, puts it more clearly under ethics than logic.

I am looking for sources, not arguments except as they describe what is in the sources. I want to explore the association of fallacy with deception both for and against. Examples like Bennett and Walton would be on the "for" side.


Bennett, B. "Pseudo-Logical Fallacies" Logically Fallacious https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/6/Pseudo-Logical-Fallacies

Walton, D. (2010). Arguments from ignorance. Penn State Press.

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    What distinction are you making between deception and rationality. Deception, when purposeful, is totally rational -- it just seeks a goal other than mutual understanding. Controlling other people is a rational goal. Controlling them may well be in their best interest. Cultures are built on mythologies, after all. (Take this in the vein of Nietzsche's "We have yet to properly esteem the power of a lie.") When not purposeful, it is not really deception, is it? It is simply delusion or error. – jobermark Dec 10 '18 at 18:14
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    @jobermark Walton claims that Eemeren and Grootendorst (I couldn't find the reference in his bibliography) is a violation of a rule of a critical discussion. This would be an example that does not include deception. I agree that a deceiver is being rational when implementing the deceit. What I think is the claim is that without deception there is no fallacy. – Frank Hubeny Dec 10 '18 at 18:54
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    @guest271314 I am not looking for examples of deception, but philosophical considerations of the idea of fallacy as a process of deception (or not). That is, philosophical views that would argue that without deception there is no logical fallacy. When I ask for sources I am looking for references where the arguments are being made. I don't want an argument alone as an answer. Any answer should include a reference. Ethics are involved because the use of deception may be viewed as unethical, not simply illogical. – Frank Hubeny Dec 10 '18 at 18:58
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    I understand you don't want an answer without a reference. But there are clearly times when someone has deluded themselves into accepting a fallacy, in which case there is no deception in the moral sense, only error. It is not immoral to spread your incorrect understanding if you think you are being helpful. My question above was meant to imply you need a more narrow definition of 'deception' before you can really get an answer. Sorry to be wordy and indirect, that is just the state I am in... – jobermark Dec 10 '18 at 20:42
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    @jobermark I used to think fallacies where forms of incorrect understanding or irrationality, but reading Bennett and Walton I think they are forms of outright deception. But I am not sure and that is what is motivating this question. The deceivers, however, may be themselves deluded especially about their right to deceive others and they may even believe what they are saying for the most part. But deceiving others would be an ethical failing not a logical error. So, a fallacy requires (1) an argument and (2) a deception before there is a fallacy from this perspective. – Frank Hubeny Dec 10 '18 at 23:06

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