Unit 5 Assignment: Fallacies

Part 1:

My name is Jordan and I have graduated with a degree in psychology and have recently

been working in a mental health clinic as a lead psychologist. Although I am a newcomer in

terms of length of experience I believe that I am one of the biggest assets not only to where I

work but to the field of psychology. Having recently graduated everything that I learned in

school is still fresh in my mind which makes me a more knowledgeable and understanding

psychologist then someone who has been out of school longer. Since they have been out of

school longer they don’t understand many of the new findings and research happening in modern

day psychology.

Good psychologists also have a lot of clients. I have a lot of clients, therefore I must be a

good psychologist. A lot of my clients have seen the advertisements that I put in our local

newspaper and also the different advertisements for my services that I have posted up in local

stores and colleges showing all the great deals I offer.

Also if you look at my history I have never been charged by an ethics board. If I had been

charged by an ethics board then that would show that I had done something unethical in my

practice. Since I haven’t been charged by an ethics board that just goes to prove that I have done

nothing unethical in my practicing. I have all of this to back up that I am an ethical psychologist

and there is nothing that could argue otherwise.

If anyone was to report me for ethical misconduct it would be hard to believe anything

that they say because they were a patient obviously seeking mental health. Therefore their mental

state cannot be trusted and anything that they say must be a lie or a made up version of the truth.

I have also had patients who were atheists which means that they deny god. Without god they

have no morals. Therefore they should not be trusted in their words or allegations. Everything

that I have put forth in this argument is proof enough that I am a good psychologist that can be


Part two:

Hello Jordan, my name is Danielle and I am a seasoned psychologist that has been

working in the field of psychology for going on 12 years now. I am thrilled that you are enjoying

your newly found position in the psychology field and that it is going so well for you. I would

like to offer my help and advice on some of the aspects of your argument. I know how it is to be

a newcomer in the field of psychology and that sense of accomplishment that you are feeling is

great but there are times when it needs to be toned down and a more humble approach is more


First I would like to discuss with you the use of fallacies in your argument and what they

are. Fallacies are a mistaken belief and are usually based on unsound argument. There are many

different types of specific fallacies and that is what I would like to go over and help you with

today. It is not uncommon for logical fallacies to be committed by not only those in the

psychology field but in any other work field as well.

The first fallacy that you use when you state that the reason you are an asset to not only

your work environment but to the field of psychology because you are more recently graduated

out of school, rather then those that have been in the field longer hence, stated that they must

know less or may have forgotten the information. This is an appeal to ignorance fallacy. You are

assuming that since there is insufficient evidence establishing that what you are saying is false

then it must be true. I understand the point that you were trying to get across by letting your

future or new patients know that you are educated in the latest research and practices in your

field but you do so by trying to appeal to others ignorance as well as your own. I think a more

efficient way to argue this point would to simply state: “I have most recently graduated with a

degree in my specialized field of psychology, I am well versed and educated in the latest

research and practices that are happening in my field. I am also knowledgeable in the history of

my field and feel as though I have a lot to offer my patients. I can offer you all the latest

techniques and treatments that might not be available with older practices in the area.” This

argues your point without being ignorant or using any fallacies while still showing off the skills

you want.

Next I would like to address the portion of your argument that is directed towards the

amount of clients that you have and how the amount of clients you have is what makes you a

good psychologist. This would be considered a fallacy by affirming the consequent or referred to

fallacy of the consequent. This is an error in logic by saying the consequent is said to be true then

the antecedent is said to be true, as a result (Bennett, 2013). There are a lot of different reasons

that a psychologist may have lots of clients it could be due to their advertising or word of mouth

and not based off of their competence. For this section I would suggest that you leave out all the

extra stuff you have added about where you advertise as it is not relevant to the argument of your

competence. I would also not rely on the amount of clients that you have to show how competent

you are but maybe take a different approach. You could ask your colleagues if they might be

interested in writing you a referral to use on your advertisements and to also give your clients as

a reference. It wouldn’t be wise to ask a patient for a formal referral as their privacy is most

important. Using referrals from those who you have worked with will help to show others that

you are someone that can be counted on and is competent to give them the help they need.

Next we are going to look at the statement you use saying that if you are charged by an

ethics board that means that you have done something unethical. You then go on to state that you

have not been charged by the ethics board therefore you have done nothing unethical. This is

considered denying the antecedent or also referred to as an inverse fallacy. It is a fallacy where in

a standard if/then premise is used the antecedent is made not true, then it is also concluded that

the consequent is not true (Bennett, 2013). It is an illogical conclusion for you to make that since

you have not been reported or had any complaints that you have not at one point acted

unethically even if you did not mean to. Instead I would write argue: “I always strive to act

ethically and follow the ethical guidelines noted down by the APA. I have my patients best

interests in mind at all times. If at any time one of my clients were to feel that they had been

unethically treated I would greatly encourage them to discuss this situation with me and the

correct actions can be taken to help repair the situation.” This shows your clients that you are

interested in their wellbeing and also acting the best way that you see fit while following the

guidelines that we have in place as psychologists.

Lastly you use not only a fallacy in your argument but what makes it the worst fallacy

used is that you have directed it towards your clients and have provided information that is not

only ethical but is fallacious. This fallacy is called poisoning the well. This is where you try to

prime your audience with adverse information about the opponent from the start, in an attempt to

make your claim more acceptable, or discount the credibility of your opponent’s claim (Bennett,

2013). In your statement you are making it sounds as if your patients are your opponents and that

if they were ever to file an ethical complaint against you that they would be wrong because they

are not credible because of the mental services they need or the religious beliefs that they have. I

honestly think that this needs to be taken out of the argument all together. I know that you were

trying to show that you were a credible person and that you should be trusted but you went about

it the wrong way in a way that would make your clients not trust you with their information.

It is hard to establish yourself as a new psychologist in the field and it can also be hard to

make arguments on behalf of yourself without accidently using logical fallacies. I hope that you

will take the information that has been provided to you and hopefully learn more about vouching

for yourself. I believe that this information will help you with any future arguments you need to

make in regards to your practice and your field of study.


Bennett, B., PhD. (2013, November 22). Logically Fallacious. Retrieved September 16, 2016,

from https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies