Monday, February 29, 2016

Slothful Induction: Opportunity for Introspection

The Slothful Induction (also called appeal to coincidence) fallacy is an inductive logical fallacy (also called ‘generalization fallacies’), meaning that it falls into a group of fallacies that use a move from specific instances to general rules. This fallacy entails the denial of a logical conclusion to an inductive argument, and instead, passing it off as just a coincidence. A great example of this is shown in those that struggle with drug addiction. Take alcoholism, for example. If a man has received six DUI’s in the past six months, but claims the reason to ‘being at the wrong place at the wrong time’, he is denying the physical or psychological problem he has, and instead, passing the effect off as coincidental. Its opposite, the ‘Hasty Generalization’ fallacy, is the fallacy of examining just one or very few examples, and generalizing that to be representative of the whole class of objects of phenomena. 

This fallacy is important to take note of because of its relevance to today’s society, especially when it comes to pointing out personal flaws. For another example, take a high school boy who has dated thirteen girls, but all of them have dumped him within the first month with the same reasoning that he gets too physical too fast. The boy then goes on to tell his friends that “bitches be crazy”. In doing this, he is committing the slothful induction fallacy because he is failing to realize or acknowledge the fault in his own actions, and instead, chalking up his romantic failures to coincidence. I think we can all attest to many times in our lives where we have seen patterns in the way we act, treat people, are treated by others, or simply see the world, and put off what might be room for personal growth for more monotonous complaining about irrelevant outside factors. It is so easy to fall into these kinds of patterns, especially with the growth of social media platforms that allow us to ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ others’ thoughts and emotions that could be seen as coincidental by some, and blatant denial by others. It’s easy for those who see the realistic fault in others to stay anonymous, and not engage in potential conflict, especially online, but those who agree with the slothful inductee unintentionally perpetuate the notion that it’s acceptable to dismiss your own faults, and let life continue to run its course. If all of us take a second to notice, think about, and perhaps talk to our friends and family about these patterns in our own lives, we can get a better grasp on whether or not the wrongdoings in our lifetimes are the fault of the world, or rather something that can be changed within ourselves to make our days a little better.

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