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Logical Fallacies

Basic Logic

We will begin with a brief summary of informal fallacies.Fallacies with regard to Relevance
Argumentum ad Bacculum Appeal to Force: Arguer threatens the reader/listener.

Argumentum ad Misericordiam Appeal to Pity: Arguer elicits pity from the reader/listener.

Argumentum ad Populum Appeal to the People Direct or Indirect:
-Direct: Arguer arouses mob mentality.
-Indirect: Arguer appeals to the reader/listener’s desires.

Argumentum ad Hominem Argument against the Person Abusive, Circumstantial,
or tu quoque:
-Abusive: Arguer verbally abuses opponent.
-Circumstantial: Arguer presents opponent as predisposed to a given argument.
-Tu quoque (you too): Arguer presents opponent as hypocritical.

Accident: A general rule is applied to a specific case it was not meant to cover.

Straw Man: Arguer distorts opponent’s argument and then attacks the distorted argument.

Missing the Point: Arguer draws a conclusion which is different from that of the supporting premises.

Red Herring: Arguer attempts to lead opponent off track.

Fallacies of Weak Induction
Argumentum ad Verecundiam Appeal to Unqualified Authority: Arguer cites an untrustworthy authority.

Argumentum ad Ignorantium Appeal to Ignorance: Premises report that nothing is known, or proved, and then a conclusion is drawn.

Converse Accident A Hasty Generalization: A conclusion is drawn from an atypical sample.

False Cause: Conclusion depends on nonexistent or minor causal connection.

Slippery Slope: Conclusion depends on unlikely chain reaction.

Weak Analogy: Conclusion depends on defective analogy.

Fallacies of Presumption
Begging the Question: Arguer creates the illusion that an inadequate set of premises is adequate. This is done by leaving out a key premise through restating the conclusion as a premise, or reasnoning in a circle.

Complex Question: Multiple questions are concealed in a single question.

False Dichotomy: A disjunctive statement hides additional possibilities.

Suppressed Evidence: Arguer ignores important evidence which requires a different conclusion.

Fallacies of Ambiguity
Equivocation: Conclusion depends on a shift in meaning of a word or phrase.

Amphiboly: Conclusion depends on an incorrect interpretation of an ambiguous statement.

Fallacies of Grammatical Analogy
Composition: Attribute is wrongly transfered from parts to the whole.

Division: Attribute is wrongly transfered from whole to parts.

Recognizing Fallacious Statements
If you find yourself involving your opponent in your attack on an argument, you are likely getting ready to make a fallacious statement.

If you find yourself having to re-write or rephrase an argument in order to find a platform, you are likely going to make a fallacious statement.

If you find yourself disregarding portions of an argument, you are being fallacious.

If you find yourself taking advantage of ambiguous statement, you are likely being fallacious. It would be far more prudent to request clarification.

Stay calm, focus on the argument, not the arguer. Get in your oppnent’s head by examining it from your opponent’s viewpoint.

3 Responses to “Logical Fallacies”

  1. SN said

    Would you please help spot the problems or logical fallacies of the following argument:

    “(A reported): that high ability girls are the most likely students to exhibit ‘maladaptive’ tendencies which disadvantage their learning, (B added) tendencies which seem to be encouraged by a highly pressured and competitive environment.

    (C said): As girls are also known to prefer styles of working that are non-confrontational adn non-competitive, (B concluded): it seems highly plausible that the causes of girls’ underachievement at the highest math GCSE level are linked with features of the top set environment (confrontational and competitive).”


  2. This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read…:)



  3. Hello, it really interesting, thanks


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