What is the most important social issue facing us as a society why do you feel this way
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What is the most important social issue facing us as a society? Why do you feel this way?. Argumentation and Logical Fallacies. Because I Said So…. Critical Thinking Guidelines. Think in terms of “claims and reasons” Think in terms of evidence Anticipate objections Avoid Logical Fallacies.

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What is the most important social issue facing us as a society? Why do you feel this way?

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What is the most important social issue facing us as a society why do you feel this way

What is the most important social issue facing us as a society?Why do you feel this way?

Argumentation and logical fallacies

Argumentation and Logical Fallacies

Because I Said So…

Critical thinking guidelines

Critical Thinking Guidelines

  • Think in terms of “claims and reasons”

  • Think in terms of evidence

  • Anticipate objections

  • Avoid Logical Fallacies

Claims and reasons

Claims and Reasons

  • Claims are the portion of your essay that make an assertion, offer an argument, or present a hypothesis.

  • Reasons are the evidence you use to support your claim

  • Critical thinking begins when you make sure that all such major claims in a text are accompanied by plausible supporting reasons in the same sentence or adjoining material

Claims and reasons1

Claims and Reasons


  • Using a cellphone while driving is dangerous

  • Playing video games can improve intelligence


  • because distractions are a proven cause of auto accidents

  • if they teach young gamers to make logical decisions quickly



Evidence is the researched information that supports your claims and forms the foundation of your reasons. When choosing evidence consider:

  • Reliability

  • Importance

  • Relevance

  • Quality vs. Quantity

Anticipate objections

Anticipate Objections

  • Critical thinking requires that we understand that all serious issues have many dimensions—more than one side.

  • Those opposing you will likely have done their homework, and understand not only their argument but yours.

  • If you keep this in mind when prewriting and preparing your argument your essay will anticipate and acknowledge detractors before they have the chance to challenge your position

  • It will increase your credibility.

  • Most importantly, you’ll have done the kind of thinking that makes you smarter.

Avoiding logical fallacies

Avoiding Logical Fallacies

Make strong arguments by knowing what weak ones look like…

Logical fallacies

Logical Fallacies

Fallacies are the rhetorical moves that corrupt solid reasoning.

They distract readers from the fact that there is a weak, underdeveloped argument at the essay’s core.

The use of fallacies undermines and destroys the integrity of your writing.

Common logical fallacies

Common Logical Fallacies

  • Appeals to False Authority

  • Ad Hominem Attacks

  • Either/Or Choices

  • Scare Tactics

  • Emotional Appeals

  • Faulty Causality

  • Straw Men

  • Slippery Slope Arguments

  • Band Wagon Appeals

  • Faulty Analogies

Appeals to false authority

Appeals to False Authority

An appeal to false authority happens when we make claims based on information from unreliable or biased sources.

Also it is important not to claim or exaggerate your own authority or credentials.

Framing yourself as an honest, if amateur, writer can even increase your credibility.

Ad hominem attacks

Ad Hominem Attacks

An Ad Hominem Attack happens when a writer bolsters their position by attacking the personal integrity when character really isn’t an issue.

EX: President Obama is untrustworthy because he smokes cigarettes.

This argument suggests that President Obama’s less admirable personal habits negatively affect his ability to do his job.

Either or choices

Either/Or Choices

  • An Either/Or Choice (also called the ”False Dilemma) is used as a shortcut to winning an argument that reduces complex situations to simplistic choices.

  • It attempts to trick readers into believing that there are easy answers to complex problems.

    EX: Either you are with us, or you’re against us!

    This argument suggests that there are only TWO sides to an issue: the right side and the wrong side. It negates the possibility of ambiguity by forcing the reader to commit 100% either way.

Scare tactics

Scare Tactics

A Scare Tactic happens when a writer makes his/her appeals chiefly by raising fears.


This argument attempts to scare you into abstinence by suggesting that sex—all sex—results in pregnancy, which results in death.

Emotional appeals

Emotional Appeals

An Emotional Appeal happens when a writer ignores facts and logical reasoning in favor of manipulating the readers’ emotions


This argument appeals to an assumed universal love for one’s children, and can/has been used in response to countless unrelated arguments.

Faulty causality

Faulty Causality

Faulty Causality happens when a writer willfully manipulates the “Cause and Effect” thought process to simplify readers’ decision making.

Just because two events or phenomena occur close together does not mean one caused the other

EX: The Bears started winning when Doug started wearing his lucky bandana to work on Thursdays.

This argument suggests a connection between 2 simple, unconnected events ignoring any provable evidence.

Straw men arguments

Straw Men Arguments

Straw Men are easy or habitual targets that writers aim at to win arguments.

EX: I am not a feminist, because I don’t hate men.

This argument relies on an exaggerated fictional example of a feminist, and suggests that it is representative of all feminists and their beliefs

Slippery slope arguments

Slippery-Slope Arguments

A Slippery-Slope Argument occurs when a writer warns that one step off the path they’ve laid out for the reader will result is complete disaster.

EX: If we change the definition of marriage to include same sex marriages, it won’t be long before people will want to marry their pets.

This argument suggests that one small change will immediately cause the breakdown of society.

Band wagon appeals

Band Wagon Appeals

A Band Wagon Appeal (also called the “Safety in Numbers Appeal”) happens when a writer suggests that EVERYONE believes one thing.

This rhetorical move alienates the reader, and plays on an individual’s innate need to belong.


The “Real Men” argument

suggests that everyone who

considers himself a “real man”

behaves a certain way.

Band Wagon Appeals largely

ignore the validity of individuality

and prey on feelings of insecurity

Faulty analogies

Faulty Analogies

A Faulty Analogy happens when a writer attempts to emphasize their argument by connecting two things based on misleading, superficial, or implausible comparisons.

EX: "Let me clarify, we have since 1973 had 55 million abortions, so what we have going on is a baby holocaust.“

-Real quote by Jim-Bob Duggar from last week

This argument suggests that the legalization of a woman’s right to choose whether or not she terminates a pregnancy is just as horrendous and tragic as the forced and institutionalized genocide of the Jewish people in 1940s Germany.

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