I just finished a few chapters of the Thinking Toolbox today, and I decided to write a summary of what it taught me today. I’m really enjoying the Thinking Toolbox, and I knew I would, even before I started reading it, because I loved “The Fallacy Detective” a lot, probably liking it enough that it’s on my top 10 books list. Definitely my favorite school book I’ve read in the past year.
Primary and Secondary Evidence – Certain evidence can be more reliable than other evidence, depending on the person and the situation. Firsthand or primary evidence comes directly from someone who personally saw a given situation or event. Secondary evidence comes from someone who got information from someone or somewhere else, not directly associated with the event, but overhearing it or hearing it from someone else. Primary evidence is usually more trustworthy than secondary evidence, quite obviously, because primary evidence comes firsthand from a witness.
Reliability and Lying – It is pretty difficult to tell who is telling the truth out of many people, and that’s why there are detectives. To figure out if someone is lying, or at least to provide a more accurate guess on who’s lying, you must first consider people’s motives. Do they have a reason to lie? Would they get something out of successfully lying? Are they a trustworthy person? You must ask all these questions before you can accurately tell if someone is lying. If they are admitting to something, or have absolutely nothing to gain by lying, then you can probably be sure that they are telling the truth. This is why you can never trust advertising. Most to all advertisers always have something to gain from advertising to you. If they say their product is the best, who are they to judge their own product?