logical fallacies n.
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Logical Fallacies. statements that may sound reasonable or true but are deceptive and dishonest. Begging the Question. (logos) assumes in the premise what the arguer should be trying to prove in the conclusion asks readers to agree that certain points are self-evident when they are not.

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logical fallacies

Logical Fallacies

statements that may sound reasonable or true but are deceptive and dishonest

begging the question
Begging the Question
  • (logos)
  • assumes in the premise what the arguer should be trying to prove in the conclusion
  • asks readers to agree that certain points are self-evident when they are not

The unfair and shortsighted legislation that limits free trade is a threat to the American economy.

circular argument
Circular Argument
  • (logos)
  • restates the argument rather than actually proving it
  • similar to Begging the Question

Jesse Jackson is a good communicator because he speaks effectively.

false analogy
False Analogy

(also: Argument from Analogy)

  • (logos)
  • analogy - a form of comparison that explains an unfamiliar element by comparing it to a more familiar one.
    • can explain unclear or abstract ideas
    • do not constitute proof because there are almost always significant differences between things being compared
  • A false analogy frequently ignores important dissimilarities between the two things being compared.

The overcrowded conditions in some parts of our city have forced people together like rats in a cage. Like rats, they will eventually turn on one another, fighting and killing until balance is restored. It is therefore necessary that we vote to appropriate funds to build low-cost housing.

ad homimem
Ad Homimem

(also: Personal Attack)

  • (ethos)
  • tries to divert attention from the facts of an argument by attacking the motives or character of the person making the argument.
  • attacks the character of the arguer rather than the argument itself

The public should not take seriously Dr. Mason’s plan for improving county health services. He is a former alcoholic whose wife recently divorced him.

hasty generalization
Hasty Generalization

(also: Sweeping Generalization,

Jumping to a Conclusion)

  • (logos)
  • reaching a conclusion based on too little evidence
  • Stereotyping is an example

Because our son really benefitted from nursery school, I am convinced that every child should go.

false dilemma
False Dilemma

(also: Either/Or Fallacy)

  • (logos)
  • when a writer suggests that only two alternatives exist even though there may be others
  • oversimplifies an issue and forces people to choose between extremes instead of exploring more moderate positions

We must choose between life and death, between intervention and genocide. No one can take a neutral position on this issue.

  • (logos)
  • when the meaning of a key term changes at some point in an argument
  • makes it seem as if a conclusion follows from premises when it actually does not

As a human endeavor, computers are a praiseworthy and even remarkable accomplishment. But how can we hope to be human if we rely on computers to make our decisions?

red herring
Red Herring
  • (pathos)
  • when the focus of an argument is shifted to divert the audience from the actual issue

The mayor has proposed building a new baseball-only sports stadium. How can he even consider allocating millions of dollars to this scheme when so many professional baseball players are being paid such high salaries?

you also
You Also

(also: TuQuoque)

  • (ethos)
  • asserts that an opponent’s argument has no value because the opponent does not follow his or her own advice

How can that judge favor stronger penalties for convicted drug dealers? During his confirmation hearings, he admitted smoking marijuana when he was a student.

appeal to false authority
Appeal to False Authority

(also: Ad Verecundiam)

  • (ethos)
  • citing an individual who, despite being famous or even being experts on some things, has no expertise on the issue at hand

According to Brian Williams, interest rates will remain low during the next fiscal year.

misleading statistics
Misleading Statistics
  • (logos)
  • misrepresentation or distortion of factual evidence in an attempt to influence an audience

Women will never be competent firefighters; after all, 50 percent of the women in the city’s training program failed the exam.

post hoc reasoning
Post Hoc Reasoning

(also: False Cause)

  • (logos)
  • assumes that because two events occur close together in time, the first must be the cause of the second
  • faulty cause/effect relationship

Every time a Republican is elected president, recession follows. If we want to avoid another recession, we should elect a Democrat as our next president.

non sequitur
Non Sequitur

(meaning: it does not follow)

  • (logos)
  • when a statement does not follow logically from a previous statement

Disarmament weakened the United States after World War I. Disarmament also weakened the United States after the Vietnam War. For this reason, efforts to control guns will weaken the United States.

bandwagon appeal
Bandwagon Appeal

(also: Ad Poplum)

  • (ethos)
  • implies because others are making a choice, you should make the same choice

In a court of law, the jury vote by majority; therefore they will always make the correct decision.

slippery slope
Slippery Slope
  • (logos)
  • suggests that once we take a first step in a direction we don’t like, we will have no choice but to continue in that direction
  • We have to stop the banning of this book. If we don’t, they’ll start banning others until there aren’t any left to read.
  • If we allow this book in our libraries, soon our libraries will be filled with all kinds of unseemly books.
  • (ethos)
  • greatly oversimplifies an opponent’s argument to make it easier to refute

People who don't support the proposed state minimum wage increase hate the poor.

ad misericordiam
Ad Misericordiam

(also: Appeal to Pity)

  • (pathos)
  • relies on appeals to pity to the exclusion of other necessary arguments

Think of all the poor, starving Ethiopian children! How could we be so cruel as not to help them?