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Fallacies of thinking and Argument. Fallacies of Emotion. Scare Tactics –presenting an issue in terms of exaggerated threats or dangers. Either/Or Fallacy a/k/a "the Black-and-White Fallacy" "False Dilemma“ “False Dichotomy”

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fallacies of emotion
Fallacies of Emotion
  • Scare Tactics –presenting an issue in terms of exaggerated threats or dangers

Either/Or Fallacy

a/k/a "the Black-and-White Fallacy"

"False Dilemma“

“False Dichotomy”

- oversimplifying a complex issue so that only two choices appear possible

    • “Either we ban X or the American way of life will collapse.”
    • "Either you drink Burpsy Cola, or you will have no friends and no social life."

Appeal to Force

a/k/a Argumentum Ad Baculum or the "Might-Makes-Right" Fallacy

- This argument uses force, the threat of force, or some other unpleasant backlash to make the audience accept a conclusion.


Slippery Slope

    • exaggerating the possibility that an action or choice today will have serious adverse consequences in the future
      • In other words, the speaker argues that, once the first step is undertaken, a second or third step will inevitably follow, much like the way one step on a slippery incline will cause a person to fall and slide all the way to the bottom.



Sentimental Appeals

(a/k/a Argumentum Ad Misericordiam, literally, "argument from pity")

    • a fallacy of argument in which an appeal is based on excessive emotion



Bandwagon Appeals

    • Recommending a course of action on the grounds that everyone else is following it
fallacies of ethics
Fallacies of Ethics
  • Appeals to False Authority

(Argumentum Ad Verecundium, literally "argument from that which is improper")

  • a fallacy of argument in which a claim is based on the expertise of someone who lacks appropriate credentials


    • supporting a claim by arguing it is the only acceptable conclusion within a given community

Ad Hominem

    • Making irrelevant attacks on the speaker’s character instead of his/her argument

Hasty Generalization

(a/k/a DictoSimpliciter, “Jumping to Conclusions,”

"Converse Accident")

    • Drawing an inference from insufficient data
    • Making a broad generalization on the basis of too little evidence
fallacies of logic
Fallacies of Logic
  • Stacking the Deck
    • You "stack the deck“ in your favor by ignoring information that disproves your claim and only listing examples that support your claim.
      • (closely related to hasty generalization, but the term usually implies deliberate deception rather than an accidental logical error)

False Cause

    • establishing a cause/effect relationship that does not exist
    • Non Causa Pro Causa(Literally, "Not the cause for a cause")
      • A general, catch-all category for mistaking a false cause of an event for the real cause.
    • Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (Literally: "After this, therefore because of this")
      • Mistakenly believing one thing caused another thing simply because it happened first; assuming event X causes event Y because event X preceded event Y

Begging the Question

(a/k/a PetitioPrincipii or Circular Reasoning)

    • Basing a claim on the very grounds that are in doubt or dispute; supporting a claim with a reason that is really a restatement of the claim in different words.
      • Rita can’t be a bicycle thief; she’s never stolen anything.


    • Using to your advantage at least two different definitions of the same term in the same argument
    • Misrepresenting the truth by
      • giving a lie as the truth OR
      • distorting the truth using deceptive language (Using a word in a different way than the author used it in the original premise, or changing definitions halfway through a discussion)
        • “Plato says the end of a thing is its perfection; I say that death is the end of life; hence, death is the perfection of life.”
          • Here the word end means "goal" in Plato's usage, but it means "last event" or "termination" in the author's second usage. Clearly, the speaker is twisting Plato's meaning of the word to draw a very different conclusion.

Non Sequitur

    • Making a claim that doesn’t follow logically from the premises, or supporting a claim with irrelevant premises
    • claims, reasons, or warrants fail to connect logically; one point doesn’t follow from another
      • If you’re really my friend, you’ll lend me five hundred dollars.

Faulty Analogy

    • Relying only on comparisons to prove a point rather than arguing deductively and inductively.
      • For example, “education is like cake; a small amount tastes sweet, but eat too much and your teeth will rot out. Likewise, more than two years of education is bad for a student.”
      • The analogy is only acceptable to the degree a reader thinks that education is similar to cake.

Appeal to Tradition

(Argumentum Ad Traditio)

    • Asserting a premise must be true because people have always believed it or done it.

Irrelevant Conclusion (IgnorantioElenchi)

    • Taking an argument that established a particular conclusion and using that same argument to prove a different conclusion
    • Example:
      • Question: “Will this particular housing legislation provide decent housing or is there a better alternative?”
      • Legislator: “Decent housing for all people is desirable.”

Red Herring

    • Shifting the audience’s attention from a crucial issue to an irrelevant issue;
    • a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue to some side-point
      • Examples:
        • “Senator Jones should not be held accountable for cheating on his income tax. After all, there are other senators who have done far worse things.”
        • “I should not pay a fine for reckless driving. There are many other people on the street who are dangerous criminals and rapists, and the police should be chasing them, not harassing a decent tax-paying citizen like me.”

The Straw Man

    • Misrepresenting (includes exaggerating) or over-simplifying an opponent’s argument to make it easier to refute or ridicule.

TuQuoque (Latin for "And you too”)

  • (Appeal to Hypocrisy)
  • Asserting an argument must be false simply because the person presenting the argument doesn't follow it herself.
  • Example:
  • "Reverend Jeremias
  • claims that theft is wrong,
  • but how can theft be wrong if
  • Jeremias is stealing money
  • from the offering plate?"

Appeal to Ignorance (Argumentum Ad Ignorantium, literally "Argument from Ignorance“; Appeal to Lack of Evidence)

    • Using lack of information to prove a point.
    • Presenting evidence the audience can’t examine.

Hypothesis Contrary to Fact (Argumentum Ad Speculum)

    • Trying to prove something in the real world by using imaginary examples alone, or asserting that, if hypothetically X had occurred, Y would have been the result.



Complex Question

(a/k/a "Loaded Question“)

    • Confronting the opponent with a question that will put him in a bad light no matter how he responds.
    • Phrasing a question or statement in such as way as to imply another unproven statement is true without evidence or discussion.
      • Examples:
        • “Have you stopped taking drugs yet?” (assumes you have been taking drugs)