Logical Fallacies. AKA “How NOT to Win an Argument”. Logical fallacies. Adapted from Technical Communication , 8 th edition, Markel. Ad hominem. Ad hominem , also called “argument against the speaker” Argument against the writer, not the writer’s argument . Argument from ignorance.
AKA “How NOT to Win an Argument”
Ad hominem, also called “argument against the speaker”
Argument against the writer, not the writer’s argument
A claim is true because it has never been proven false, or false because it has never been proven true
An argument based on emotion, not on reason
An argument that a claim is valid because the person making the claim is an expert
AKA “begging the question”
An argument that assumes what it is attempting to prove is already true
An argument that poses only two possible alternatives when there may be more alternatives
AKA “bandwagon argument”
An argument that a claim is valid because many people think it is or act as if it is
AKA “inadequate sampling”
An argument that draws a conclusion based on an insufficient number of cases
From post hoc, ergo propter hoc
Assuming event A causes event B becauseevent A precedes event B
AKA “slippery slope”
An argument that omits important information in establishing a causal link
A false clue or a way to mislead your reader about your true intentions; a distraction
To present a simplified version of an opponent’s viewpoint to make his or her viewpoint easier to attack
We shouldn’t sell the Ridgeway division. It’s been a part of our company for over 40 years! I would be sad to see it go.
Nobody has ever proven that global warming is occurring. Therefore, global warming is a myth.
According to Dr. Smith, global warming is a fact. Therefore, it must exist.
Why do I believe in God? Because the Bible tells me God exists. Why do I believe the Bible? Because God’s disciples wrote the Bible, of course!
If we don’t start selling our products online, we’ll certainly go out of business.
Of course Matthew is in favor of buying more computers for the office—he is crazy about computers.
I believe smoking in teens is detrimental to their health. Over 20 studies have shown that teen smokers are likely to become lifelong smokers. Therefore, I believe we should all stop smoking and instead chew bubblegum. I own a candy store, and I would be happy to sell everyone bubblegum at a discounted rate.
John Doe is opposed to euthanizing homeless animals in animal shelters. Obviously, Joe is saying that he wants the world to be overrun by homeless cats and dogs. Eventually, he wants cats and dogs to take over the planet and destroy mankind. I oppose Joe’s argument that animals are more important than humans for these reasons…
Our four major competitors have started selling products online. Obviously, we should, too.
The new Gull is an unreliable car. Two of my friends own Gulls, and they both have problems with their vehicles.
Mississippi should pass the new highway safety law. The other 49 states have already passed it; therefore, it’s a good idea for our state.
There must be something wrong with the new circuit breaker in the office. Ever since it was installed, the air conditioner has been working improperly.
To achieve world peace, we all need to wear “I FAVOR WORLD PEACE” buttons on our clothes. That should fix the problem.