There are several important components to critical thinking. One aspect of particular significance is logical correctness. In order to be a more effective problem solver, one should be able to recognize and avoid logical fallacies whenever possible. According to Cline (2004), logical fallacies are “defects in an argument - other than false premises - which cause an argument to be invalid, unsound or weak.” Discussed throughout this paper are three specific logical fallacies and their importance to critical thinking and decision making. The fallacies to be covered are Ad Hominem or personal attack fallacy, Tu Quoque, which is also known as the ‘look who’s talking’ fallacy, and the Appeal to Pity fallacy. The first two are fallacies of relevance, whereas the third is an appeal to emotion fallacy.
The first type of logical fallacy is called an Ad Hominem or personal attack fallacy. Kemerling (2004) defines an Ad Hominem fallacy as, “The informal fallacy of supposing that a proposition should be denied because of some disqualifying feature of the person who affirms it.” The following is an example of this type of fallacy from Wikipedia (2004): "Jack is wrong when he says there is no God because he is a convicted felon.” As one can see, the reason for not believing Jack has no logical basis but is purely driven by the fact that he is a convicted felon. Jack’s incarceration has no bearing whatsoever on his being correct or incorrect in his statement. The person making the comment may have stereotyped Jack or diminished his credibility based on that circumstance but, regardless, being in jail is not a direct indicator of level of knowledge.
The Ad Hominem fallacy can be seen in a more practical application during the course of the workday. When selecting project teams, individuals may attempt to sway one’s decision to select team members based on their own biases. A team member might make a comment