Well, fallacy is a gap in reason. It’s either a mistake or done deliberately, but the point is: you make a sustained leap, a false inference, a bad conclusion. And a lot of the time, you just shovel some emotion or invective or passion or nonsense into the gap. Maybe that nonsense was what made you leap there. Honest mistake. The nonsense convinced you. Or maybe you thought the nonsense was so convincing you’d use it as a ploy.
Doesn’t matter. The fallacy is in the absence, the lack, the gap in your reasoning. It doesn’t really matter what you hide it with – except that logicians have done yeo person’s work identifying and classifying all the most common ways to hide gaps. So if you use one of those, you’ll find not only did you not get away with it, there’s a name for the specific error you made.
Bias is much more basic. Bias is a bent, a tendency, an inclination you have, either for or against something. Known bias is no problem. You know you’re inclined to this person or thing because of its proven-to-you (in experience) good. You’re liable to spot if they (or it) disappoints you. Unknown bias is the treachery. You aren’t entirely conscious of the assumptions and judgments it entails. You may be applying category bias willy-nilly to individuals who do not themselves possess the traits and properties you disdain them for! You have pre-judged them based on some category, without knowing them as individuals! This is called judgment from ignorance, and it is not reliable. It’s just that your bias has operated, without you really examining its basis against the merits of the case in front of you.
That is my own reflection on the difference between fallacy and bias. You know, it seems to me they are completely unrelated things. Fallacy occurs as a failure in an attempted process of reasoning.
Bias occurs as the product of a process of judgment. It is only maladaptive where done unconsciously, and so misapplied.
- Cognitive biases impact us all—various forms of confirmation biases weave their way into our thinking, beliefs, and communication.
This is why intellectual humility is absolutely key. Without intellectual humility we are stumbling in the darkness. Or at least a fog-haze of our own self-deluded thinking. This makes us prone to dogmas and assumptions of all sorts and sizes.
The Biblical parable about us each having a metaphorical log inside our eyes that distorts our thinking—suggest the vital necessity of addressing this issue.
Not to mention the notion of seeing existence “through a glass darkly” is some incredible wisdom for someone who thinks in terms of trying to address cognitive biases.
I would suggest that pride and power stand at the root of cognitive biases. It’s those who fail to recognize the contingency and limits of their picture of the world that have the most problems bumping into reality—in terms of coherence to their worldview and beliefs.