Certainty, Fallacies of

Certainty—confidence in a material truth beyond reasonable doubt—is not itself a fallacy. A fallacy does occur, however, when certainty takes the form of:

1. defence of a position, by all means, logical and otherwise; or

2. insistence that the other person’s proposition has to be certain and proven beyond any conceivable challenge, before it can be accepted as relevant. Example: “It was the excellent music teaching she had at home and at school that made it possible for her to become a professional pianist.” “You see, you simply don’t know that: she might have taught herself on the piano at the Youth Club.”


Related entries:

Precautionary Principle, Bad Faith, Self-Deception, Disingenuousness.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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