The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation


Beware of those who peddle lists of fallacies. Such philosophers have never really done anything in their life. The purpose of misrepresentation is to cultivate ignorance – not irrationality. Mere failures in logic can be detected and resolved, but ignorance is harder to self-sense and much more difficult to dispel than either wrongness or Paulian ‘not-even-wrong’-ness. Hence ignorance is much more useful to agency.

The following is The Ethical Skeptic’s list, helpful in spotting not simply formal and informal logical fallacies, but also crooked arguing, skilled lying, coercion, irrelevance, smoke & mirrors, inference tricks, narrative manipulation, and styles of club/agency thinking on the part of those who seek a pervasive cultivated ignorance – the fertile soil of their awesome insistence.

The TOKO is categorized by employment groupings so that it can function as a context appropriate resource in a critical review of an essay, imperious diatribe or publication by a thought-enforcing organization or entity.

To assist this, we have comprised the list inside an intuitive taxonomy of ten contextual categories of mischaracterization/misrepresentation:

You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words.
Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?
In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.

~ 1984, George Orwell

Over 3,000 Fallacies, Errors and Methods of Crooked Thinking
Grouped by Category of Misrepresentation

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 2 Nov 2009; Web,

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We homeschool and I’m thinking this could be quite useful when our children reach middle/high school and we are covering logic.


[…] The tree of knowledge obfuscation, The Ethical Skeptic […]

Terry B

Ethical Skeptic, I suppose I don’t have to be the one to tell you how friggin’ good this list is. Please do not take this down, as I would like to link to it on a regular basis. I would suggest a fallacy, or whatever is the right way to call it, where a pseudo sceptic is trying to make themself look good by being overly aggressive in arguing? Is that covered here? Like a show of intimidation?


The Ethical Skeptic

Terry, there are several which relate to this line of personal critical blindness or bias, in Misrepresentation of Self (Appeal to Skepticism), notably: Compositional Exclusion, Ergo Sum Veritas, Ergo Sum Scientia, Delusion of Superiority, to name a few. Glad you like the list. It is both a page here, where you commented, and a post as well so that it gets maximum exposure – and the fact that some people link, as you are intending here, back to the original post, posted before I made it a page because of its popularity. Have at it – it will always be… Read more »


Is there a Delusion of Adequacy fallacy? I think that’s most of medicine;).

Aldis Ozols

See Dunning-Kruger Effect.