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Logical Fallacies

Dawn Weathersbee

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Either Or this fallacy includes any lame attempt to "prove" an argument by overstating, exaggerating, or over-simplifying the arguments of the opposing side.
Argumentum Ad Traditio Trying to prove something in the real world by using imaginary examples alone, or asserting that, if hypothetically X had occurred, Y would have been the result.
Contradictory Premises is a non sequitur in which the speaker argues that, once the first step is undertaken, a second or third step will inevitably follow
Tu Quoque a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue to some side-point
Argumentum Ad Verecundium To argue that proposals, assertions, or arguments must be false or dangerous because they originate with atheists, Christians, Communists, capitalists, the John Birch Society, Catholics, anti-Catholics, racists, anti-racists, feminists, misogynists (or any other group) is fallacious.
Fallacy of Accident the claim that an idea, product, or person must be untrustworthy because of its racial, geographic, or ethnic origin.
Argumentum Ad Misericordiam To argue that an opponent should accept an argument because of circumstances in his or her life.
Lack of Evidence This line of thought asserts that a premise must be true because people have always believed it or done it.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc This fallacy occurs when a writer builds an argument upon the assumption that there are only two choices or possible outcomes when actually there are several.
Amphiboly Phrasing a question or statement in such as way as to imply another unproven statement is true without evidence or discussion.
Loaded Question Using an appeal to popular assent, often by arousing the feelings and enthusiasm of the multitude rather than building an argument.
misleading statistic "Draping oneself in the flag." This argument asserts that a certain stance is true or correct because it is somehow patriotic, and that those who disagree are unpatriotic.
Division This error occurs when one applies a general rule to a particular case when accidental circumstances render the general rule inapplicable.
Argumentum ad Populum An emotional appeal concerning what should be a logical issue during a debate. While pathos generally works to reinforce a reader’s sense of duty or outrage at some abuse, if a writer tries to use emotion merely for the sake of getting the reader to accept what should be a logical conclusion, the argument is a fallacy.
Ad Hominem Appealing to a lack of information to prove a point, or arguing that, since the opposition cannot disprove a claim, the opposite stance must be true.
Red Herring A general, catch-all category for mistaking a false cause of an event for the real cause.
Non Causa Pro Causa asserts that the advice or argument must be false simply because the person presenting the advice doesn't follow it herself.
Straw Man Argument Using a word in a different way than the author used it in the original premise, or changing definitions halfway through a discussion.
Dicto Simpliciter “Everybody is doing it.” This argumentum ad populum asserts that, since the majority of people believes an argument or chooses a particular course of action, the argument must be true, or the course of action must be followed, or the decision must be the best choice.
Argumentum Ad Speculum An appeal to an improper authority, such as a famous person or a source that may not be reliable. This fallacy attempts to capitalize upon feelings of respect or familiarity with a famous individual.
Ignorantio Elenchi This fallacy is a result of reasoning from the properties of the parts of the whole to the properties of the whole itself--it is an inductive error.
Stacking the Deck Suppose an individual argues that women must be incompetent drivers, and he points out that last Tuesday at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 50% of the women who took the driving test failed. That would seem to be compelling evidence from the way the statistic is set forth. However, if only two women took the test that day, the results would be far less clear-cut.
Petitio Principii This argument uses force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion.
Circular Reasoning This type of false cause occurs when the writer mistakenly assumes that, because the first event preceded the second event, it must mean the first event caused the later one.
Snob Approach since one position is untenable, the opposite stance must be true.
Argument from the Negative Establishing a premise in such a way that it contradicts another, earlier premise.
Circumstantial Relying only on comparisons to prove a point rather than arguing deductively and inductively.
Bandwagon Approach A specific type of error in deductive reasoning in which the minor premise and the major premise of a syllogism might or might not overlap.
Patriotic Approach This fallacy occurs when a rhetorician adapts an argument purporting to establish a particular conclusion and directs it to prove a different conclusion.
Non Sequitur Often the writers using this fallacy word take one idea and phrase it in two statements. The assertions differ sufficiently to obscure the fact that that the same proposition occurs as both a premise and a conclusion. The speaker or author then tries to "prove" his or her assertion by merely repeating it in different words.
Slippery Slope This fallacy establishes a cause/effect relationship that does not exist.
Undistributed Middle Term This type of argumentum ad populum doesn’t assert “everybody is doing it,” but rather that “all the best people are doing it.”
Composition Attacking or praising the people who make an argument, rather than discussing the argument itself.
False Cause If writers assume as evidence for their argument the very conclusion they are attempting to prove, they engage in the fallacy of begging the question. The most common form of this fallacy is when the first claim is initially loaded with the very conclusion one has yet to prove.
Abusive This fallacy is similar to equivocation. Here, the ambiguity results from grammatical construction.
Equivocation This fallacy is the reverse of composition. It is the misapplication of deductive reasoning. One fallacy of division argues falsely that what is true of the whole must be true of individual parts.
Genetic Fallacy any argument that does not follow from the previous statements. Usually what happened is that the writer leaped from A to B and then jumped to D, leaving out step C of an argument she thought through in her head, but did not put down on paper.
Ad Baculum ignoring examples that disprove the point, and listing only those examples that support her case.
Faulty Analogy Mistaken use of inductive reasoning when there are too few samples to prove a point.

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