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  1. A summary of common fallacies

  2. Ad ignorantiam Claiming that something is true because it cannot be proved to be false. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  3. Hasty generalisation Generalising from insufficient evidence. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  4. Post hoc ergo propter hoc Assuming one thing causes another just because one follows another. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  5. Ad hominem Attacking /supporting the person rather than the argument. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  6. Circular reasoning Assuming the truth of what you are supposed to be proving. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  7. Special pleading Using double standards to excuse an individual or group. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  8. Equivocation Using language ambiguously. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  9. False analogy Assuming that because two things are alike in one way that they are alike in other respects. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  10. False dilemma Assuming that only a limited number of alternatives exist. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  11. Loaded question A question that is biased because it contains a built-in assumption. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  12. In each of the following cases, decide which best applies to the argument. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question.

  13. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 1. Since strict gun control laws were introduced in Dodge City, the crime rate has risen. This shows that gun control does nothing to reduce crime. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  14. post hoc ergo propter hoc Since strict gun control laws were introduced in Dodge City, the crime rate has risen. This shows that gun control does nothing to reduce crime.

  15. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 2. Cliff said he trusted me, and he must be telling the truth because he wouldn’t lie to someone that he trusted. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  16. circular reasoning Cliff said he trusted me, and he must be telling the truth because he wouldn’t lie to someone that he trusted.

  17. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 3. The ends justifies the means. After all, if you want to make omelettes, you have to break eggs. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  18. false analogy The ends justifies the means. After all, if you want to make omelettes, you have to break eggs.

  19. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 4. Since the English always talk about the weather, if you meet someone who talks about the weather you can be sure they come from England. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  20. invalid syllogism Since the English always talk about the weather, if you meet someone who talks about the weather you can be sure they come from England.

  21. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 5. That can’t be right, non of my friends would believe it. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  22. ad hominem That can’t be right, non of my friends would believe it.

  23. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 6. Since many great scientists have believed in God, there must be some truth in religion. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  24. ad hominem Since many great scientists have believed in God, there must be some truth in religion.

  25. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 7. Teddy and Seanne got on very well on their two dates together. They are clearly well suited and should get married. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  26. hasty generalisation Teddy and Seanne got on very well on their two dates together. They are clearly well suited and should get married.

  27. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 8. Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem? “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  28. false dilemma Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?

  29. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 9. I agree that you shouldn’t copy mp3s illegally, but I’ve only copied a few and I do buy tracks sometimes. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  30. special pleading I agree that you shouldn’t copy mp3s illegally, but I’ve only copied a few and I do buy tracks sometimes.

  31. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 10. The average UK family has 2.5 children. The Smiths are average people, they must have 2.5 kids. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  32. equivocation The average UK family has 2.5 children. The Smiths are average people, they must have 2.5 kids.

  33. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 11. Since no-one has been able to prove that God didn’t create the universe, we must conclude that God did make everything. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  34. ad ignorantium Since no-one has been able to prove that God didn’t create the universe, we must conclude that God did make everything.

  35. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 12. Are all your family stupid, or is it just you? “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  36. loaded question Are all your family stupid, or is it just you?

  37. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 13. Many great artists are not recognised in their own lifetimes. Since John’s work has not been recognised, he must be a great artist. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  38. invalid syllogism Many great artists are not recognised in their own lifetimes. Since John’s work has not been recognised, he must be a great artist.

  39. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 14. Since there are two candidates for student president – Meaghan and Noad – and I know Ingrid didn’t vote for Meaghan, so she must have voted for Noad. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  40. false dilemma Since there are two candidates for student president – Meaghan and Noad – and I know Ingrid didn’t vote for Meaghan, so she must have voted for Noad.

  41. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 15. No one succeeds without hard work, the fact that you failed your exams shows how lazy you have been. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  42. invalid syllogism No one succeeds without hard work, the fact that you failed your exams shows how lazy you have been.

  43. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 16. No scandal has ever touched Simon. He must be a clean living and honest man. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  44. ad ignorantium No scandal has ever touched Simon. He must be a clean living and honest man.

  45. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 17. Just as you are more likely to take care of a car that you own rather than a car that you rent, a slave owner would look after a slave better than an employer would look after their worker. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  46. false analogy Just as you are more likely to take care of a car that you own rather than a car that you rent, a slave owner would look after a slave better than an employer would look after their worker.

  47. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 18. To ignore the possibility that Norway landed the first person on the moon just because nobody has heard of a Norwegian space program is arrogant. If we are unaware of something does not mean that it never happened. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  48. ad ignorantium To ignore the possibility that Norway landed the first person on the moon just because nobody has heard of a Norwegian space program is arrogant. If we are unaware of something does not mean that it never happened.

  49. Valid, invalid syllogism, hasty generalisation, post hoc ergo propter hoc, circular reasoning, ad hominem, special pleading, ad ignorantium, false dilemma, false analogy, equivocation, loaded question. 19. In the fight against terrorism, you are either with the USA or against. “Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma”, Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press

  50. false dilemma In the fight against terrorism, you are either with the USA or against.