You are on page 1of 8

Appeals in language analysis

In language analysis, appeals are commonly found in articles and illustrations since it is an effective persuasive technique. Most appeals fall under
three categories: appeal to ethics, emotions or logic intended to manipulate how readers feel or think about a certain topic.
Persuasive Technique: Appeal to authority/expert opinion
Example: Ms Hepburn, the CEO of NutureNature, has endorsed the technology, stating that it is the new future.
Analysis: Readers may be manipulated into believing in the cause since they may respect or be intimidated by the authoritys knowledge and expertise.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to bandwagon
Example: Everyone is buying the new iPad these days.
Analysis: The writer urges readers to hope that they are in with it or up-to-date rather than be rejected and left out of social trends.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to common sense
Example: Isnt it well-known that Australia was once called New Holland?
Analysis: By stating an everyday knowledge that is immediately established by the writer as being fact, the reader is invited to agree since they dont
want to be perceived as unintelligent.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to consequences
Example: What happens once you buy that car? It will only depreciate in value while your current car is doing its job just fine.
Analysis: Readers are warned of the consequences of their actions in an attempt to gain agreement with the writer.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to empathy
Example: The children wept and yelled for help due to the throbbing hunger.
Analysis: Through eliciting emotions such as sadness, sympathy and remorse, readers are convinced to agree with the writer.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to envy
Example: She had it all a wealthy family, attended a prestigious school, currently studying Law, and on top of that she has a successful business on
the side!
Analysis: Readers are encouraged to feel envious towards the subject due to social expectations, while being instilled with a sense that they also need
to become more like the subject.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to equality
Example: Research has shown that Orangutans are 97% the same as humans. And yet here we are, chopping down palm trees for our own selfish
interests and needs.
Analysis: Since many readers endorse fairness and equal rights as opposed to inflicting injustice upon others, they are invited to advocate for the
writers position.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to fear/security
Example: Students who dont attend university will be faced with low-salary jobs.
Analysis: By being confronted with fear, readers are encouraged to agree with the writer in order to avoid the potential situation.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to flattery
Example: Youre intelligent and sophisticated why not go for it?
Analysis: Many readers may feel a sense of personal pride from the compliment, which in turn positions the writer to appear like a friend or a
trustworthy person.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to freedom
Example: Think about a life in prison. What you do, where you go, who you see it is all controlled minute by minute. This would be your life if you
let go of our freedom!
Analysis: Since readers generally like to be in control of their own actions and thoughts, the loss of freedom threatens readers and thus urges support
for the writer.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to greed
Example: At 30% the RRP, its time that you invest in a new laptop before the sale ends!
Analysis: Readers are manipulated into focusing on the gains instead of the cost or risks associated with the purchase.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to guilt
Example: Arent you ashamed that he went to all that effort to impress you, yet you dismissed him anyway?
Analysis: Readers are encouraged to support the writer in order to fix what they feel guilty for.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to hip pocket nerve
Example: These hackers will dig deep into your bank accounts until they can get the money that theyre after.
Analysis: By threatening readers financial wellbeing, the writer positions readers to feel as though they are unfairly being overcharged or ripped off.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to humanity
Example: How can we leave these poor helpless people trapped in cages?
Analysis: The writer appeals to humans desire to take care of one another since many readers do not wish to see others in harms way.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to ignorance
Example: That haunted house has had two generations disappear into thin air. They say that there is something strange going on in that house.
Analysis: Through pointing out that there is no proof otherwise, or no solid explanation, this statement encourages readers to believe that the writers
contention is indeed true.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to justice
Example: Everyday I see people fussing over their new gadget, new jewelry or new hairstyle. Everyday I dont see these people thinking about those
children in third world countries suffering day in and day out.
Analysis: The writer aims to convince the reader to be indignant at the apparent injustice.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to modernity
Example: Strong and independent women of the 21st century are those who have fulfilling careers and support their families, unlike the housewives in
the 1950s.
Analysis: Since it is instinctive to be thought of as up-to-date, readers are urged to support the writers argument.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to needs
Example: We all have the desire to have a nice home, a happy family and a fulfilling job.
Analysis: By stating that it is natural for people to have needs, this allows readers to agree with the writer since they are encouraged to look after
themselves instead of the mindset of being selfish or self-absorbed.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to paternalism
Example: Its time that children need to be taught about responsibility from when theyre toddlers, rather than to be spoon-fed throughout childhood
and beyond.
Analysis: By indicating that the interference is in the subjects own good, readers are persuaded to agree since it appears as though parents are
attempting to promote the well being of their children.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to patriotism
Example: All Australians are care-free and laid back so why are some people so uptight?
Analysis: By appealing to readers sense of patriotism, they are manipulated into agreeing with the writer since they may feel that they have to support
their home land.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to pity/sympathy
Example: He worked hard for that position for many years, slaving away for his boss and what does he get? A demotion for no apparent reason at
Analysis: The writer urges readers to feel sorry for the subject since it is clear that they are stuck in an undesired position.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to prejudice
Example: Freeloaders dont do anything but sit back and let others, like you, do the work for them.
Analysis: The use of popular prejudices is intended to point out the correctness of the writers position.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to pride
Example: If you are proud of your heritage, then its time to think about investing back into your family.
Analysis: A sense of pride usually invites the reader to feel satisfaction of their own possessions or achievements and thus, encourages them to agree
with the writer.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to responsibility
Example: Who will to take care of the disabled? Who will take care of the elderly? Who is going to step up and do some good for the community?
Analysis: By positioning readers to feel as though they have not done enough, the writer urges them to take responsibility for the situation.

Persuasive Technique: Appeal to tradition
Example: Every year weve had fireworks for Australia Day, and yet they want to ban the event just because the crowd isnt as big as theyd hoped?
Analysis: Since readers may feel committed to a certain tradition, they may support the writer since it is something that has always been done, and
thus is it right to continue doing so.
Abductive Fallacy: The fallacy of applying an inadequate simulation methodology to a given simulation task.
Accent Fallacy (fallacy of prosody): Like equivocation, changing the meaning of the same word, but by where you put the accent.
Amazing Familiarity: The argument contains information that seems impossible to have obtained -- like an omniscient author.
Ambiguity Effect: The tendency to avoid unknown options over ones that are explained, no matter how improbable.
Ambiguous Assertion: An unclear statement is made that could have multiple meanings, but is not used multiple times like amphiboly.
Appeal to Closure (a more specific form of argument from ignorance): Accepting evidence on the basis of wanting closure -- or to be done
with the issue.
Appeal to Coincidence: Failure to acknowledge clear reasons behind an effect.
Appeal to Complexity: Concluding that just because you dont understand the argument, nobody can.
Appeal to Convenience: Accepting an argument because its conclusion is convenient, not necessarily true.
Appeal to Luck (good or bad luck): Failure to acknowledge clear reasons behind an effect.
Appeal to Envy (Argumentum ad invidiam): Attempting to persuade by making one envious, rather than by evidence.
Appeal to Equality: An assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality.
Appeal to Intuition: Concluding that because a proposition does not match one's experience of how things work in general, or one believes they
should work, then that proposition is false.
Appeal to Privacy: Refusing to open a topic for discussion because it is deemed private, thus by default acceptable. Sometimes referred to as the
Mind Your Own Business Fallacy.
Appeal to Stupidity: Attempting to get the audience to devalue reason and intellectual discourse.
Appeal to Utility: (see Appeal to Convenience)
Argument by Dismissal: An argument is rejected without saying why.
Argument by Laziness: Making an argument without bothering collecting support for the claims being made.
Argument by Pigheadedness: While not really an argument, or much of a fallacy, it is a refusal to accept a well-proven argument for one of many
reasons related to stubbornness.
Argument by Rhetorical Question: Setting up questions in such a way to get the answers you are looking for. This is more of a form of rhetoric than
a fallacy.
Argument by Selective Reading: When an series of arguments or claims is made, and the opponent acts as if the weakest argument was the best one
Argument by Uninformed Opinion: (see Argument by Laziness)
Argument from Design: Assuming because something looks designed, it must be designed. This fallacy originates from a belief that intelligent design
is the only possible source of apparent design, ignoring evolution by random mutation and natural selection.
Argument from Inertia: More of a bias than a fallacy. The tendency to stick with an incorrect argument or belief system despite realizing he or she is
most likely wrong, just because admitting he or she were wrong would be too painful.
Argument from Omniscience: (see Amazing Familiarity)
Argument To The Future: Arguing that someday, evidence will be discovered to justify your conclusion.
Argumentum ad Captandum: Any specious or unsound argument that is likely to win popular acceptance.
Argumentum ad Exemplum (Argument to the Example): Arguing against a particular example cited rather than the question itself.
Barking Cat: Demanding that a problem should not be solved before other, more important problems are solved.
Big Lie Technique: Repeating a lie, slogan or deceptive half-truth over and over until people believe it without further proof or evidence.
Blood is Thicker than Water (Favoritism): Assuming truth because of a close connection with the one making the statement.
Bribery (Material Persuasion, Material Incentive, Financial Incentive): Paying someone to agree with your position, or accepting payment to
Burden of Proof Fallacy (onus probandi, shifting the): Placing the burden of proof on the wrong side of the argument.
Chronological Snobbery: Thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present.
Confesses Under Torture: Assuming what one confesses under torture must be true.
Contextomy: A quote or other text taken out of context and used to mean something it wasnt mean to mean.
Damning with Faint Praise: To attack a person by formally praising him, but for an achievement that shouldn't be praised.
Double Bind: Setting up a situation in which no matter what the person does or answers, he or she is wrong.
Double Standard: Judging two situations by different standards when in fact you should be using the same standard -- often done for selfish purposes.
Emphasis Fallacy: (see Accent Fallacy)
Essentializing Fallacy: It is what it is and it will always be that way.
Exaggeration: Not accurately representing the truth -- not quite a fallacy, but worth a listing on the B-list.
Exception That Proves The Rule: Exceptions to rules are evidence against rule, never for the rules.
Failure to State: Never actually stating a position on the topic, rather constantly being on the attack or asking questions. This protects the person from
Fallacy of Multiplication: Including more causes that are ultimately irrelevant.
Fallacy of Opposition: Asserting that those who disagree with you must be wrong and not thinking straight, primarily based on the fact that they are
the opposition.
Fallacy of Quoting Out of Context: (see Contextonmy)
Fallacy of the Crucial Experiment: Claiming some idea has been proved by a pivotal discovery.
Fantasy Projection: Confusing subjective experiences, usually very emotionally charged, with objective realities, then suggesting or demanding that
others accept the fantasy as truth.
Faulty Sign: Incorrectly assumes that one event or phenomenon is a reliable indicator or predictor of another event or phenomenon.
Finish the Job Fallacy: Ignoring reason and insisting that one must, finish the job or finish what we started, thinking the job is more important
than the reason for completing or stopping the job.
God Wildcard Fallacy*: Excuses a contradiction in logic or reason by divine mystery. The God wildcard comes in many forms, and is played when
honest questioning leads to absurd or illogical conclusions.
Golden Hammer Fallacy: Proposing the same type of solution to different types of problems.
Hifalutin' Denunciations: Denouncing an argument or opponent with vague, pretentious, and grand-sounding generalized accusations.
I Wish I Had a Magic Wand: Erroneously proclaiming oneself powerless to change a bad or objectionable situation, thinking there is no alternative.
In a Certain Respect and Simply: Take an attribute that is bound to a certain area and assume that it can be applied to a wider domain than was
originally intended.
Intentional Fallacy: The problem inherent in trying to judge a work of art by assuming the intent or purpose of the artist who created it.
Invincible Ignorance Fallacy: Basically, just a refusal to argue. Not accepting any evidence.
Knights and Knaves: Treating information coming from other persons as if it were always right or always wrong, based on the person.
Lack of Proportion: Exaggerating or downplaying evidence important in the argument. Extreme cases could actually be a form of suppressed
Latino Fallacy*: The misconception that an argument, fallacy, or claim that has a Latin translation is more likely to apply than if it didnt.
Lies (Misrepresentation): Not a fallacy, but important in reasoning not to overlook the fact that many arguments may contain outright lies. Keep
this in mind.
Lip Service: Pretending to agree when it's clear that you don't really agree.
Lump of Labor Fallacy (Lump of Jobs Fallacy): The contention that the amount of work available to laborers is fixed. This can be debatable,
depending on the economist asked.
Mind Projection Fallacy: Coined by physicist and Bayesian philosopher E.T. Jaynes, the mind projection fallacy occurs when one believes with
certainty that the way he sees the world reflects the way the world really is.
Monopolizing the Question: Asking a question and then immediately giving the answer, in a way forcing your answer on the audience.
Norm of Reciprocity: A technique used to exploit people's natural tendency to want to repay debts. In an argument, one may give into a point causing
an unwarranted concession from the other side, out of the desire to repay the favor.
Not Invented Here: Ideas and arguments are not evaluated equally if they come from outside a social sphere.
Outdated Information: If outdated information is used in an argument, it would technically be more of an error in the truth of the premises than in
reason, but be aware of this when doing your fact checking.
Packing the House: Filling the audience with friends, shills, or others who will cheer incessantly after you speak or make an argument, badger your
opponent, and otherwise make for an unfair environment that will make your arguments appear much stronger and your opponents much weaker.
Related to Pomp and Circumstance.
Paralogism: Can generally refer to any fallacious or illogical argument.
Paralysis of Analysis (Procrastination): Reasoning that since all data is never in, no legitimate decision can ever be made and any action should
always be delayed until forced by circumstances.
Pigeonholing: A term used to describe processes that attempt to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories. This usually covers a
wide variety of more specific fallacies.
Pious Fraud: A fraud done for a good end, on the theory that the end justifies the means.
Pragmatic Fallacy: (see Appeal to Convenience)
Preachers We: To veil accusations of others by saying, We or, Us when you really mean You.
Probabilistic Fallacy: When inferences from the premises to the conclusion violate the laws of probability.
Psychologist's Fallacy: A fallacy that occurs when an observer presupposes the universality of his or her own perspective when analyzing a behavioral
Redefinition: Redefining a term, usually to make it fit your argument better. For example, Nothingness: That which only God can create something
Reductionism: This is more of a philosophy than a fallacy, although those who dont subscribe to the philosophy will often refer to it as a fallacy. It is
reducing things to the interaction of their parts. For example, if one claims we are just biochemistry, then those who believe we are also a soul will
consider this claim a fallacy.
Sanctioning the Devil: Avoiding debate with someone because debating him would give him undue credit. Really not a fallacy, but can be considered
one by the flat-earther you are refusing to debate.
Scope Fallacy: There are many specific fallacies detailed in this book that fit the under the category of scope fallacy. These have to do mostly with
Self-Deception: The process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The process of prophesying will itself produce the effect that is prophesied, but the reasoner doesn't recognize this and
believes the prophecy is a significant insight.
Self-Righteousness: Assuming that just because your intentions are good, you have the truth or facts on your side.
Sherlock Holmes Fallacy: Remember that Sherlock Homes was a fictional character, even if based on a real one. His method of deduction was often
stated as, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. There are many flaws with this method
in real life.
Sly Suggestions: Suggesting that your ideas may be true without making solid statements that can be proven wrong. You may be our next millionaire!
Just subscribe to this service and you will find out if you are or not.
Snow Job: Proving a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they
cannot be expected to understand.
Sour Grapes: Denigrating something just because you cant have it.
Spin Doctoring: Presenting information in a usually deceptive way to get people to interpret the information how you want them to.
Taboo: Refusing to critically examine a belief or argument because its not acceptable to do so, for whatever reason. This is the refusal to reason.
Tautology: Using different words to say the same thing, even if the repetition does not provide clarity. Tautology can also refer to a series of self-
reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because the statements depend on the assumption that they are already correct (a form of begging the
There Is No Alternative: Discouraging critical thought by announcing that there is no realistic alternative to a given standpoint, status or action,
ruling any and all other options irrelevant, or announcing that a decision has been made and any further discussion is simply a waste of time (or even
insubordination or disloyalty).
Too Broad: The definition includes items which should not be included.
Too Narrow: The definition does not include all the items which should be included.
Undoability: Claiming something is not possible rather than you (or someone else) cannot do it.
Weasel Wording: Using ambiguous words in order to mislead or conceal a truth: Save up to 50% or more!
Word Magic: Assuming just because there is a word for it, it must exist.
Informal fallacies[edit]
Main article: Informal fallacy
Informal fallacies arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural (formal) flaws and which usually require examination of the argument's

Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance, argumentum ad ignorantiam) assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be
proven false, or vice versa.

Argument from (personal) incredulity (divine fallacy, appeal to common sense) I cannot imagine how this could be true, therefore it must be

Argument from repetition (argumentum ad nauseam) signifies that it has been discussed extensively until nobody cares to discuss it

Argument from silence (argumentum e silentio) where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.
Argument to moderation (false compromise, middle ground, fallacy of the mean, argumentum ad temperantiam) assuming that the compromise
between two positions is always correct.

Argumentum ad hominem the evasion of the actual topic by directing the attack at your opponent.
Argumentum verbosium See Proof by verbosity, below.
Begging the question (petitio principii) providing what is essentially the conclusion of the argument as a premise.
(shifting the) Burden of proof (see onus probandi) I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false.
Circular reasoning (circulus in demonstrando) when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with; sometimes called assuming
the conclusion.
Circular cause and consequence where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.
Continuum fallacy (fallacy of the beard, line-drawing fallacy, sorites fallacy, fallacy of the heap, bald man fallacy) improperly rejecting a claim for
being imprecise.

Correlative-based fallacies
Correlation proves causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc) a faulty assumption that correlation between two variables implies that one causes
the other.

Suppressed correlative where a correlative is redefined so that one alternative is made impossible.

Equivocation the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).

Ambiguous middle term a common ambiguity in syllogisms in which the middle term is equivocated.

Ecological fallacy inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which
those individuals belong.

Etymological fallacy which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day

Fallacy of composition assuming that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole.

Fallacy of division assuming that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts.

False dilemma (false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation, black-or-white fallacy) two alternative statements are held to be the only possible options,
when in reality there are more.

Fallacy of many questions (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum) someone asks a question that
presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question
limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner's agenda.
Fallacy of the single cause (causal oversimplification
) it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have
been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
False attribution an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument.
Fallacy of quoting out of context (contextomy) refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original context in a way that distorts the
source's intended meaning.

False authority (single authority) using an expert of dubious credentials and/or using only one opinion to sell a product or idea. Related to
the appeal to authority fallacy.
Gambler's fallacy the incorrect belief that separate, independent events can affect the likelihood of another random event. If a coin flip lands on
heads 10 times in a row, the belief that it is "due to the number of times it had previously landed on tails" is incorrect.

Hedging using words with ambiguous meanings, then changing the meaning of them later.
Historian's fallacy occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same
information as those subsequently analyzing the decision.
(Not to be confused with presentism, which is a mode of historical analysis in which
present-day ideas, such as moral standards, are projected into the past.)
Homunculus fallacy where a "middle-man" is used for explanation, this sometimes leads to regressive middle-men. Explains without actually
explaining the real nature of a function or a process. Instead, it explains the concept in terms of the concept itself, without first defining or explaining
the original concept. Explaining thought as something produced by a little thinker, a sort of homunculus inside the head, merely explains it as
another kind of thinking (as different but the same).

Inflation of conflict The experts of a field of knowledge disagree on a certain point, so the scholars must know nothing, and therefore the
legitimacy of their entire field is put to question.

If-by-whiskey an argument that supports both sides of an issue by using terms that are selectively emotionally sensitive.
Incomplete comparison in which insufficient information is provided to make a complete comparison.
Inconsistent comparison where different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison.
Ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point) an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question.

Kettle logic using multiple inconsistent arguments to defend a position.
Ludic fallacy the belief that the outcomes of non-regulated random occurrences can be encapsulated by a statistic; a failure to take into
accountunknown unknowns in determining the probability of events taking place.

Mind projection fallacy when one considers the way one sees the world as the way the world really is.
Moral high ground fallacy in which one assumes a "holier-than-thou" attitude in an attempt to make oneself look good to win an argument.
Moralistic fallacy inferring factual conclusions from purely evaluative premises in violation of factvalue distinction. For instance,
inferring is from oughtis an instance of moralistic fallacy. Moralistic fallacy is the inverse of naturalistic fallacy defined below.
Moving the goalposts (raising the bar) argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often
greater) evidence is demanded.
Naturalistic fallacy inferring evaluative conclusions from purely factual premises
in violation of factvalue distinction. For instance,
inferring oughtfrom is (sometimes referred to as the is-ought fallacy) is an instance of naturalistic fallacy. Also naturalistic fallacy in a stricter sense
as defined in the section "Conditional or questionable fallacies" below is an instance of naturalistic fallacy. Naturalistic fallacy is the inverse
of moralistic fallacy.
Naturalistic fallacy fallacy
(anti-naturalistic fallacy
) inferring impossibility to infer any instance of ought from is from the general invalidity of is-
ought fallacy mentioned above. For instance, is does imply ought for any proposition , although the naturalistic
fallacy fallacy would falsely declare such an inference invalid. Naturalistic fallacy fallacy is an instance of argument from fallacy.
Nirvana fallacy (perfect solution fallacy) when solutions to problems are rejected because they are not perfect.
Onus probandi from Latin "onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat" the burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, not on
the person who denies (or questions the claim). It is a particular case of the "argumentum ad ignorantiam" fallacy, here the burden is shifted on the
person defending against the assertion.
Petitio principii see begging the question.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc Latin for "after this, therefore because of this" (faulty cause/effect, coincidental correlation, correlation without causation)
X happened, then Y happened; therefore X caused Y. The Loch Ness Monster has been seen in this loch. Something tipped our boat over; it's
obviously the Loch Ness Monster.

Proof by verbosity (argumentum verbosium, proof by intimidation) submission of others to an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably
deal with in all its intimate details. (See also Gish Gallop and argument from authority.)
Prosecutor's fallacy a low probability of false matches does not mean a low probability of some false match being found.
Proving too much - using a form of argument that, if it were valid, could be used more generally to reach an absurd conclusion.
Psychologist's fallacy an observer presupposes the objectivity of his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event.
Red herring a speaker attempts to distract an audience by deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument which the speaker
believes will be easier to speak to.

Referential fallacy
assuming all words refer to existing things and that the meaning of words reside within the things they refer to, as opposed
to words possibly referring no real object or that the meaning of words often comes from how we use them.
Regression fallacy ascribes cause where none exists. The flaw is failing to account for natural fluctuations. It is frequently a special kind of
the post hocfallacy.
Reification (hypostatization) a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a
concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a "real thing" something which is not a real thing, but merely an
Retrospective determinism the argument that because some event has occurred, its occurrence must have been inevitable beforehand.
Shotgun argumentation the arguer offers such a large number of arguments for their position that the opponent can't possibly respond to all of
them. (See "Argument by verbosity" and "Gish Gallop", above.)
Special pleading where a proponent of a position attempts to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle without
justifying the exemption.
Wrong direction cause and effect are reversed. The cause is said to be the effect and vice versa.

Faulty generalizations[edit]
Faulty generalizations reach a conclusion from weak premises. Unlike fallacies of relevance, in fallacies of defective induction, the premises are
related to the conclusions yet only weakly buttress the conclusions. A faulty generalization is thus produced.
Accident an exception to a generalization is ignored.

No true Scotsman when a generalization is made true only when a counterexample is ruled out on shaky grounds.

Cherry picking (suppressed evidence, incomplete evidence) act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position,
while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

False analogy an argument by analogy in which the analogy is poorly suited.

Hasty generalization (fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, leaping to a conclusion, hasty
induction,secundum quid, converse accident) basing a broad conclusion on a small sample.

Inductive fallacy A more general name to some fallacies, such as hasty generalization. It happens when a conclusion is made of premises which
lightly supports it.
Misleading vividness involves describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a
Overwhelming exception an accurate generalization that comes with qualifications which eliminate so many cases that what remains is much less
impressive than the initial statement might have led one to assume.

Pathetic fallacy when an inanimate object is declared to have characteristics of animate objects.

Thought-terminating clich a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance, conceal lack of
thought-entertainment, move onto other topics etc. but in any case, end the debate with a clichenot a point.
Red herring fallacies[edit]
A red herring fallacy is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false inferences. In the
general case any logical inference based on fake arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments or to replace implicitly the subject of the

Red herring argument given in response to another argument, which is irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument. See
alsoirrelevant conclusion.
Ad hominem attacking the arguer instead of the argument.
Poisoning the well a type of ad hominem where adverse information about a target is presented with the intention of discrediting everything
that the target person says.

Abusive fallacy a subtype of "ad hominem" when it turns into verbal abuse of the opponent rather than arguing about the originally proposed

Argumentum ad baculum (appeal to the stick, appeal to force, appeal to threat) an argument made through coercion or threats of force to support

Argumentum ad populum (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) where a proposition
is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so.

Appeal to equality where an assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality.

Association fallacy (guilt by association) arguing that because two things share a property they are the same.

Appeal to authority (argumentum ab auctoritate) where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting

Appeal to accomplishment where an assertion is deemed true or false based on the accomplishments of the proposer.

Appeal to consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam) the conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative
consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from the initial discussion.

Appeal to emotion where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.

Appeal to fear a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing

Appeal to flattery a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made due to the use of flattery to gather support.

Appeal to pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) an argument attempts to induce pity to sway opponents.

Appeal to ridicule an argument is made by presenting the opponent's argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous.

Appeal to spite a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite towards an
opposing party.

Wishful thinking a specific type of appeal to emotion where a decision is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than
according to evidence or reason.

Appeal to motive where a premise is dismissed by calling into question the motives of its proposer.
Appeal to novelty (argumentum novitatis/antiquitatis) where a proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new or modern.

Appeal to poverty (argumentum ad Lazarum) supporting a conclusion because the arguer is poor (or refuting because the arguer is wealthy).
(Opposite of appeal to wealth.)

Appeal to tradition (argumentum ad antiquitam) a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.

Appeal to nature wherein judgment is based solely on whether the subject of judgment is 'natural' or 'unnatural'.

Appeal to wealth (argumentum ad crumenam) supporting a conclusion because the arguer is wealthy (or refuting because the arguer is
(Sometimes taken together with the appeal to poverty as a general appeal to the arguer's financial situation.)
Argument from silence (argumentum ex silentio) a conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence.
Bulverism (Psychogenetic Fallacy) inferring why an argument is being used, associating it to some psychological reason, then assuming it is
invalid as a result. It is wrong to assume that if the origin of an idea comes from a biased mind, then the idea itself must also be a false.

Chronological snobbery where a thesis is deemed incorrect because it was commonly held when something else, clearly false, was also
commonly held.

Fallacy of relative privation dismissing an argument due to the existence of more important, but unrelated, problems in the world.
Genetic fallacy where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context.

Judgmental language insulting or pejorative language to influence the recipient's judgment.
Naturalistic fallacy (isought fallacy,
naturalistic fallacy
) claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is.
Reductio ad Hitlerum (playing the Nazi card) comparing an opponent or their argument to Hitler or Nazism in an attempt to associate a position
with one that is universally reviled. (See also Godwin's law)
Straw man an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.

Texas sharpshooter fallacy improperly asserting a cause to explain a cluster of data.

Tu quoque ("you too", appeal to hypocrisy, I'm rubber and you're glue) the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should
be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.

Two wrongs make a right occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out.

Conditional or questionable fallacies[edit]
Broken window fallacy an argument which disregards lost opportunity costs (typically non-obvious, difficult to determine or otherwise hidden)
associated with destroying property of others, or other ways of externalizing costs onto others. For example, an argument that states breaking a
window generates income for a window fitter, but disregards the fact that the money spent on the new window cannot now be spent on new

Definist fallacy involves the confusion between two notions by defining one in terms of the other.

Naturalistic fallacy attempts to prove a claim about ethics by appealing to a definition of the term "good" in terms of either one or more claims
about natural properties (sometimes also taken to mean the appeal to nature) or God's will.

Slippery slope (thin edge of the wedge, camel's nose) asserting that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events
culminating in some significant impact/event that should not happen, thus the first step should not happen. While this fallacy is a popular one, it is,
in its essence, an appeal to probability fallacy. (e.g. if person x does y then z would [probably] occur, leading to q, leading to w, leading to
This is also related to theReductio ad absurdum.