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LOGICAL FALLACIES. Common Mistakes in Weak Arguments. DEVELOPED BY JENIFFER VISCARRA. Introduction. Ad Hominem Hasty Generalization False Dilemma Begging the Question Post Hoc False Analogy. Definition.

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logical fallacies


Common Mistakes in Weak Arguments


  • Ad Hominem
  • Hasty Generalization
  • False Dilemma
  • Begging the Question
  • Post Hoc
  • False Analogy

Logical fallacies are flaws in reasoning that lead to faulty, illogical statements. They are unreasonable argumentative tactics named for what has gone wrong during the reasoning process.

Most logical fallacies masquerade as reasonable statements, but they are in fact attempts to manipulate readers by reaching their emotions instead of their intellects.
ad hominem
Ad Hominem

Latin for to the man

Directly attacks someone’s appearance, personal habits, or character rather than focusing on the merit of the issue at hand. The implication is that if something is wrong with this person, whatever he/she says must be wrong.

How can you say he’s a good musician when he’s been in and out of rehab for three years?

ad hominem making it personal
Ad Hominem – Making it Personal

Sara is divorced, so whatever relationship advice she gives you can’t be good.

It is the suggestions, not the person who makes them that deserve attention. Sara’s marital status has nothing to do with the quality of her advice. Isn’t it also possible that Sara could be married and give awful advice?

If my husband forgot to wash his dish, I would move out too. You did the right thing, Carol.

hasty generalization
Hasty Generalization

A hasty generalization is a conclusion based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence.

Stereotyping and Sexism are forms of this fallacy. Take, for example common dumb blonde jokes:

Q: What do you call a blonde skeleton

in the closet?

A: Last year's hide-and-go-seek winner.

example of a generalization
Example of a Generalization

The only redheads I know are rude.

Therefore, all redheads must have bad


If the speaker only knows two redheads, then he has insufficient evidence to make the general claim about all people with that hair color.

either or false dilemma
Either – Or / False Dilemma

A false dilemma asserts that a complex situation can have only two possible outcomes and that one of the options is necessary or preferable.

Either go to college or forget about making money.

This falsely implies that a college education is a pre-requisite for financial success.

Was it her college education that made Britney tons of money?

begging the question
Begging the Question

This is a kind of circular argument where the support only restates the claim.

Wrestling is dangerous because it is unsafe.

Jogging is fun because it is enjoyable.

Unsafe means the same thing as dangerous and fun means the same thing as enjoyable. This makes the reasoning circular.

post hoc fallacy
Post Hoc Fallacy
  • Short for post hoc, ergo propter hoc,

which means after this, therefore caused

by this.

This fallacy assumes that just because B

happened after A, it must have been caused

by A.

Politicians love this one.

post hoc example
Post Hoc Example

Since Governor Bush took office, unemployment of minorities in the state has decreased by seven percent. Governor Bush should be applauded for reducing unemployment among minorities.

Before we pat the governor on the back, the speaker must show that Bush’s policies are responsible for the decrease in unemployment. It is not enough to show the decrease came after his election.

false analogy
False Analogy

An analogy points out similarities in things that are otherwise different. A false analogy claims comparison when differences outweigh similarities. Essentially, it’s comparing apples and oranges!

false analogy example
False Analogy Example

If we can put a man on the moon, why

can’t we find the cure for the common


While both things being compared here are related to science, there are more differences than similarities between space and biological advancements.

  • Ad Hominem
  • Hasty Generalization
  • False Dilemma
  • Begging the Question
  • Post Hoc
  • False Analogy
sources used
Sources Used

Troyka, Lynn Quitman. Quick Access. New

Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Hackard, Dianne. …..