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LEGAL WRITING

ATTY. MARILYN P. CACHO-DOMINGO


LPU-College of Law
School Year 2015 - 2016

PERSUASIVENESS
If you wish to win a man over to your ideas, first make him your friend.
-Abraham Lincoln
Purpose:
To be able to write persuasively by using any of the four modes of legal
reasoning: a) rule-based reasoning; b) analogical (and the counter-analogical
reasoning); c) policy-based reasoning; and d) the narrative reasoning.

I.

PERSUASION

Persuasion is a process where people are guided towards the adoption


of an idea or course of action. In legal writing a persuasive document
attempts to influence the deciding authority to favorably decide the case in
favor of ones client. The deciding authority is usually the Judge. However,
he may also be the arbiter (in an arbitration dispute), commissioner, hearing
officer, mediator or the other party to the dispute.

II.

MODES OF LEGAL REASONING

Reasoning is the process of drawing conclusions from facts or


evidence. To reach the desired conclusion, arguments and proofs may be
used.
There are four modes of legal reasoning: a) rule-based reasoning; b)
analogical (and the counter-analogical reasoning); c) policy-based reasoning;
and d) the narrative reasoning.

A.

Rule-based reasoning

Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo | 1

In rule-based reasoning, the conclusion is reached by analyzing and


applying the law, rule or legal principle.
Examples:
The law says: a contract is annullable where one of the
parties is incapable of giving consent to consent to a contract. 1
Albert was seventeen when he signed the contract. Therefore,
Albert should not be bound by the contract because he signed it
when he was a minor.
B.Analogical
reasoning

(and,

by

extension,

the

counter-analogical)

There are three possible types of analogical argument:


1.
Arguing from precedent. This type of analogical
argument happens when the conclusion is reached by showing
similarities between the case decided by the Supreme Court and
the case of the client. This is usually achieved by invoking the
doctrine of stare decisis.2
The lawyer reasons by showing that there is a direct factual
similarity between the case decided upon by the high court and
his clients case. If the Supreme Court decided the case this
way, then the clients case must be decided this way due to the
similarities of facts. To put it conversely, my clients case should
be decided in this manner because after all, the Supreme
Court in a case of similar facts also decided in this manner
Examples:
1 CIVIL CODE, Art. 1390 states: The following contracts are voidable or annullable, even
though there may have been no damage to the contracting parties: (1) Those where one of
the parties is incapable of giving consent to ac contract.Art. 1327: The following cannot
give consent to a contract; (1) Unemancipated minors
2 Stare decisis et non quieta movere (Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is
settled). Stare Decisis is the doctrine that, when the court has once laid down a principle of
law as applicable in a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all
future cases where the facts are substantially the same. Government v. Jalandoni, 44 O.G.
1840.

Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo | 2

In the case in question, Mario was sixteen


when he signed the contract in 2009. However he
lied about his age by misrepresenting himself to be
20. In a case of similar facts, Mercado v. Espiritu, 3
the Supreme Court declared the deed of sale valid,
and cannot annulled in spite the fact that two of the
four parties were minors.
The reason is, their
misrepresentation about their age amounted to
estoppel.4
2.
Argument of same legal application. Analogical reasoning
may also be used to show similarities that if the law applies to
one area, it may be understood to apply to other similar areas.
In a case that attempts to impose damages on the seller of
immoveable or real property for failing to disclose a major defect
of the property, the lawyer might argue that the law has imposed
such duty on sellers of personal property as well. He might
argue that rule for real and personal properties are the same.
a.

Mutatis Mutandis

Mutatis mutandis5 is an example of argument


using the same legal application. This happens when
one compares multiple situations having multiple
variables where some variables remain constant,
while others are allowed to be changed.
For
example, the injunction in the ten commandments
Thou shalt not covet they neighbors wife will apply
mutatis mutandis to thy neighbors husband as
well.
Article 111 of The Law of the Sea states: The
right of hot pursuit shall apply mutatis mutandis to
violations in the exclusive economic zone or on the
continental shelf, including safety zones around
continental shelf installations, of the laws and
regulations of the coastal State applicable in

3 Mercado v. Espiritu, 37 Phil. 215.


4 Estoppel is a rule of equity which renders an admission or representation
conclusive upon the person making it and prevents him from denying the
same in an action against a party who relied thereon. Singson v. Veloso, 52
O.G. 873.
5 Latin: The necessary changes having been made.
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accordance with this Convention to the exclusive


economic zones.6
3.
Argument using common sense analogy.
Analogical
arguments may be used by starting with something that
everyone accepts.
Examples:
A person might argue that death penalty must
be restored because the body of society is just like
the body of a person. If a man has severe tooth
ache, the logical way is to extract the tooth. A
heinous criminal is just like the bad tooth.
b.

Counter-analogical reasoning

Counter-analogical reasoning is the opposite of analogical


reasoning.
While the latter concludes by pointing out the
similarities, counter-analogical reasoning concludes by pointing
put relevant differences between the case and the clients facts.
Counter analogical reasoning is usually used to debunk or
destroy the other partys prior use of analogical reasoning, by
stating that the case cited and the clients situation are actually
different, thus no common conclusion can be inferred from both
situations.
Example:
The opponent might use counter-analogical
reasoning by saying that in the Mercado vs. Espiritu
case, the minors representation misled the other
party for after all, the minors had passed the age of
puberty and truly looked like adults. While in the
other case, even if Mario, the seller, lied about his
age, there is no way the buyer should be misled
because the Mario is a baby-faced sixteen year old.
That the seller has not passed the age of puberty,
and neither does he look like an adult. Thus, there
are no factual similarities in both cases.

6 1982 Convention in Jamiaca (The Law of the Sea), Article 111: Section 2.
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In the tooth-extraction case as an analogy why


death sentence should be imposed, the opposing
party who is against death penalty might reason
using counter analogy by saying satirically that id
my tooth aches, I may have it pulled, such that if
my head aches, I may have it cut. This is another
way of telling that there are not enough similarities
between tooth extraction and death penalty to
warrant a conclusion.
C.

Policy-based reasoning

Policy-based reasoning reaches a conclusion by connecting


the facts of the case to the states existing policy, i.e., what
would be best for the society at large.
Public policy is
recognized or established by the State in determining what acts
are unlawful as [they are] deemed injurious to the public or
contrary to the public good.7 Thus, an agreement is against
public policy if it is injurious to the interests of the public,
contravenes some established interest of society, violates some
public statute, is against good morals, tends to interfere with the
public welfare or safety, or if it is at war with the interests of
society and is in conflict with the morals of the time.8
Example:
Mario should not be bound by the contract. Young
people whose minds and morals are not yet fully
formed should not suffer from the harmful
consequences of those acts which they themselves
could not fully consent to. He is not yet mature
enough to consider the full consequences of his
decisions.
He deserves to be protected, not
punishable.
D.

Narrative reasoning

Narrative reasoning the conclusion by telling a story that


shows the context, description and perspective that appeals to
commonly-held ideas of justice, mercy or fairness.
7 Sorogon v. City of Davao, 17098-R, June 17, 1957

8 Ongsiako v. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 56


Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo | 5

Examples:
Narrative where there is possibility of undue influence:
Mario should not be bound by the contract he
signed because Joey, the car-dealer for 25 years,
pressured Mario, discouraged him from calling his
parents to ask for advice and telling him that another
buyer was looking at the car at that very moment.
Joey lowered his voice said: Ill tell you what Ill do.
Ill give you a bonus of P5,000 on top of your selling
price, if you will allow me to facilitate the sale of your
car to the buyer. This bonus is a secret between us.

FALLACY
Purposes:
To recognize the different classes of formal and informal fallacies. To
avoid using fallacies in ones documents and pleadings
I.

CONCEPT
Fallacy is an error in reasoning. A lawyer spends a lot of time
arguing and reasoning for his client. Thus, it is vital that he knows the
principles of sound reasoning to avoid fallacies. He must also be able
to spot fallacy in others. Errors in reasoning keeps us from arriving at
the truth. Ones thinking is slanted and displaced. Worse, he would not
know it. It takes skill to wade through layers of arguments and pinpoint
fallacies. An analytical mind is one of truths allies, and falsehoods
foes.

II.

MAIN TYPES
Fallacy may be:
A.
Formal fallacy is an error in deductive reasoning
where the conclusion dos not necessarily follow from the
premises.
B.
Informal fallacy or inductive fallacy is an error to
reasoning in a form which does not follow the traditional
structures of logic.

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III.

DEDUCTION
Deduction is to reason from general principles (or truth) to
particular instances of that truth.
Example:
All cats are mortal.
Simila is a cat.
Therefore, Simila is mortal.

(major premise)
(minor premise)
(conclusion)

For a deductive argument to be valid, it must be absolutely


established that both minor and major premises are true. If the
premises are true, the conclusion is valid. If Simila is a cat, then it is
mortal. But is Simila is not a cat, but a cell phone brand (making the
statement Simila is a cat false), then the conclusion is invalid.
If all members of the gang participated in mauling and Pino is
a member of the gang, are true, then the conclusion Pino is guilty of
mauling is true.
IV.

DEDUCTIVE FALLACY
Otherwise called formal or logical fallacy, deductive fallacy
presents an error in deductive reasoning, in that the conclusion arrived
at is logical flawed or absurd. There are several types of deductive
fallacy. The three main types are discussed below. 1) the fallacy of the
illicit major, 2) the fallacy of the illicit minor, and 3) the fallacy of the
undistributed middle.

A.

Fallacy of the illicit major

This fallacy happens when the major term (predicate of the


major premise) is particular (or not distributed) in the major
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term, but is universal (distributed) in the conclusion. A


simple way to understand this fallacy is Some students of that
school drink alcohol; therefore, all students in that school drink
alcohol (some students is particular in the premise but
universal in the conclusion). This is fallacious because no
universal conclusion can be inferred from a particular premise.
Otherwise, one becomes guilty of hasty generalization.
Examples:
All Bicolanos are Filipinos. (True. Here,
Bicolanos is universal but Filipinos are particular.
The reason is while all Bicolanos are Filipinos only
some Filipinos are Bicolanos. Thus Filipino, which is
the major term is used in a particular mode.)
Bicolanos are not Cebuanos. (true. Both Bicolano
and Cebuano are universals. This premise may be
restated as No Bicolano is Cebuano or, No
Cebuano is Bicolano)
Therefore, Cebuanos are not Filipinos. (The
conclusion is false. The reason is the Fallacy of the
Illicit Major, which made the major term (which was
particular in the major premise, e.g., Filipinos) as
universal in the conclusion. Not Filipinos are
universal because it may be restated as No
Cebuano is Filipino or conversely: NoFilipino is
Cebuano. The conclusion making the major term
universal (e.g., Filipino)is fallacious.
All Catholics are Christians.
Catholics are not Protestants.
Therefore, Protestants are not Christians. (The
Fallacy is self-explanatory, since Protestants are likewise
Christians.
Christians
is
particular
(undistributed) in the major premise but universal
(distributed) in the conclusion. Thus, the fallacy.)
UP la students are excellent students.
San Beda students are not UP students.

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Therefore, San Beda students are not excellent


students.
(Obviously a fallacy. Many times, San Beda
students had excelled.)
B. Fallacy of the Illicit Minor
Fallacy of the illicit minor happens when the minor term
(the predicate in the minor premise) is particular (or
undistributed) in the minor premise but becomes universal (or
distributed) in the conclusion. The basis (minor term) being
particular, cannot sustain a universal conclusion, hence the
fallacy.
Examples:
All lawyers are bar passers.
All
lawyers
are
professionals.
(Here,
professional, the minor term is particular or
undistributed.
Therefore, all professionals are bar passers. (In
the conclusion, professional is universal.
A universal conclusion was arrived at from a
particular premise. This a fallacy since not all
professionals are bar passers.)
The fallacy is more egregious in the following:
All criminals deserve to be punished.
All criminals deserve another chance.
Therefore, all of those deserving
chance, deserve to be punished.

another

C. Fallacy of the undistributed middle

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Fallacy of the undistributed middle occurs when the middle


term (the term that appears in both major and minor premise)
remains particular (undistributed) in both premises.
Examples:
All criminals have tattoos.
Jonlino has a tattoo.
Therefore, Jonlino is a criminal. (This is a fallacy
since not all persons with tattoos are criminals.
Tattoo in both major in minor premise is particular,
thus it cannot be universalized in the conclusion that
just because Jonlino has a tattoo he is necessarily a
criminal.)
All communists are atheists.
Lusino is an atheist.
Therefore, Lusino is a communist.
V.

INFORMAL FALLACY
Informal fallacy is an error in reasoning occurring within
non-traditional forms of inference. Informal fallacies are also
known as semiformal, quasi-formal or inductive fallacies.

VI.

TYPES OF INFORMAL FALLACY


The following is a list of common informal fallacies:

1.
Ad Hominem from Latin argument to the man,
is an argument rejecting a persons views by attacking or
abusing his personality, character, motives, intentions,
qualifications, etc., as opposed to providing evidence why the
views are incorrect.
Example:
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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What Lolino testified in court should not be


believed.
After all, he is a known communist
sympathizer.
The form followed by argumentum ad hominem
is usually:
Mr. A makes a claim or assertion.
Mr. B attacks on the person of Mr. A.
Therefore, Mr. As claim or assertion is false.
This is fallacious because the person may (or
may not) have a bearing on the truth of his
assertions. The truth of Mr. As assertion should be
subjected to tests other than a mere attack on the
personality, character or motivation of Mr. A, the
claimant.
2.
Ad Hominem Tu Quoque from Latin you too,
argues that a persons claim is false because it is inconsistent
with what that persons earlier statement or action.
Example:
Antonina teaches the message of love and peace.
Yet she does not practice it. I have seen her berate her
students.
Evonnes pro-divorce stance should be
rejected. After all, she was an anti-divorce activist
just a year ago.
This is a fallacious because Evonne may have
changed in the meantime. The validity of the claim
should be tested by a criteria other than the
claimants view or character.

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3.
Appeal to Authority happens in any of the two
instances:
a.
when one appeal to authority (or custom,
tradition, institution or book) in order to gain
acceptance of a point at issue; or
b.
when one appeals to the feelings of
reverence or respect we have of those in authority or
those who are famous.
Appeal to authority is known by other names: fallacy of
argumentum ad verecundiam, argument authority, argument to
veneration, fallacious appeal to authority, misuse of authority,
irrelevant authority, questionable authority, inappropriate
authority.
Examples:
I believe that the statement you cannot
legislate morality is true, because President
Eishenhower said it.
I use Maskinol astringent because Ms. V, my
favorite movie star, uses it.
Jose: I believe, just like there in the U.S., that
abortion is legal and moral within the first six
months. A person must have the right to decide
what to do with her body.

Zeny: I beg to disagree. Our universitys top


lady science professor holds that abortion is immoral.

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Jose: Why? Is she an expert on morality or


law?
Zeny: Shes an expert on marine worms.
4.
Appeal to Belief also known as appeal to
popularity, is the argument that because many people believe in
a claim, that claim must be true. It is fallacious in that just
because many (or most) people hold a belied to be true, such
believers are not an evidence that the claim put forward indeed
true.
Example:
During Galileos time, most believed the sun
revolved around the earth. And just because the
majority believed in it, does not mean it is true.
5.
Appeal to Common Practice argues that id most
people do an act, it must be morally correct. This is fallacious in
that just because something is commonly practiced, this does
not necessarily make an act moral.
The belief is fallacious in that numerical majority alone
cannot be a gauge for an acts morality. For instance: if an island
has 10 people, of which 6 are non-thieves while 4 thieves. In this
set-up, to be a non-thief is moral because they are the
majority. In case an epidemic hits the island and kills 3 of the
non-thieves, the 4 thieves would now become the majority.
Clearly their number alone would not make thievery moral.
Examples:
I paid the official because anyway most people
do it nowadays.
Since everybody else accepts money from
politicians in elections, I have no choice but to
accept.
6.
Appeal to Consequences of a Belief argues that
a belief is true if it leads to desirable consequences. Conversely,
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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a belief is false if it leads to undesirable consequences. This


fallacy is otherwise known as the argumentuam ad
consequentiam or argument to the consequences.
The argument is fallacious in that the consequences of a
belief could not be determinant as to the truth or falsity of the
belief.
Example:
If my belief that Jose Rizal is alive makes me
happy, this belief in no way makes it true that Jose
Rizal is alive.
My belief that every time I wear a red shirt I
will pass an examination, has no bearing on my
actually passing the examination. It may be that I
prepared for the exam.
7. Appeal to Emotion deliberately generates feelings in
people so that they will act in a certain way. Appeal to emotion
assumes that the truth comes with good feelings, and falsehood
with bad feeling, e.g., if it feels bad it must be wrong. This
becomes fallacious when a person bases his conclusions on
emotion rather than logic. Commonly used by politicians, cult
leaders and advertisers, the fallacy had become a tool for
manipulation to control behavior.
Example:
Our sofa with electronic massager will soothe
your stress everytime you watch TV. Thus, Sofa Cum
Massage is what you and busy family needs these
days.
The Ponton people in the mountains of are
raiding our warehouses. They are training children to
become armies. How bad can you feel reading the
news each day. If you vote for me, I will make reading
the news a pleasure. You will read how I would
eradicate these people.

Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |


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8. Appeal to Fear also called argumentum ad baculum,


argues that a belief is true, or at least acted on, not because
there is a rational reason to believe (evidence) it is true, but
because of external factors such as fear, harm or threat. Here, a
conclusion is formed on the basis of fear adur fater not evidence.
Example:
If you do not pass on this letter to six of your
friends, an unforeseen calamity will befall upon you.
I need to have my application acted upon by
Wednesday. After that, I will have to consult my uncle
who works in Malacaang.
Talking back against your father might diminish
your allowance!
9. Appeal to Flattery argues that there are persons
who arrive at conclusions, or act in a certain way, when flattered.
The argument is fallacious in that the basis of ones conclusion is
nor rational reason or evidence but flattery.
Example:
You look younger today, and your face is
smoother. By the way, did you receive our letter of
solicitation?
Your mind does not deserve to be in this small
town, but in the Hague. How far are you now in
editing my thesis?
10. Appeal to Novelty argues that a thing or idea is
necessarily better simply because it is new. One is novel,
therefore good. The argument is fallacious in that the basis of
ones conclusion is the things newness, not its merit.
Example:
This book is the latest, therefore you must buy
it. It is useful for your teaching as it is the latest
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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edition whereas the former edition was written three


years ago.
11. Appeal to Pity also called argumentum ad
misericordiam, argues that some persons conclude or make
decisions solely on pity, and not on evidence. The argument is
fallacious in that the basis of ones decision is pity and not
reason or evidence.
Example:
Sir, I received a grade of 5. Is there something
we can do? I am graduating and my ailing mother is
earning a living as a laundrywoman. My father has
asthma and cannot do his usual chores.
12. Appeal to Popularity argues that a claim or idea is
true simply because more people are inclined to accept such
similar claim or idea. The argument is fallacious in that the basis
of ones conclusion or decision is not evidence but an external
factor which is widespread acceptance of a belief.
Example:
To my beloved Filipinos: Im running. After all, I
received a million signatures that urged me to run for
office. It is the will of the province.
When the law on violence against women and
children was passed, I questioned what about the
rights of battered husbands? But then I realized most
lawyers and professionals did not object to the law.
Im thinking maybe I was wrong.
13. Appeal to Ridicule argues that ridicule, or the idea
of being laughed at, may serve as basis for ones decisions. The
argument is fallacious in that ridicule and not reason or evidence
become the support why one thinks or acts in a certain way.
Example:
You should not wear those pants. Only people
plucked from the 50s wear them.
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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Your argument, just like your shirt, reminds me


of a restaurant table cover.
14. Appeal to Spite argues that spite, or hate, may
substitute reason in coming up to a conclusion. It is fallacious in
that a purely subjective emotion spite takes precedence over
objective evidence in coming up with a decision.
Example:
A:
It is my cousin Reggies
tomorrow. Im planning to attend

wedding

B:
Remember when we were kids how
Reggie accused you of stealing his cards?
A:
As a matter of fact, I do. I will not attend
his wedding then.
15. Appeal to Tradition is the opposite of appeal to
novelty. Appeal to tradition argues that the idea is necessarily
better simply because it is older, more tested and tried
because it had been used years over. It is fallacious because age
per se does not necessarily qualify an idea to be better. Older is
not better.
Example:
We have to go to the cemetery on November 2,
not 1. After all, people in this town had been doing
that since as long as I can remember.
Of course, an adversarial court system is better
than some inquisitorial system9 they have in France.
We have always used the adversarial system since
the Spanish era and nobody questioned its efficacy.
91 In an inquisitorial legal system, the court is actively involved in
determining the facts of the case, through questioning or otherwise. This is
opposed to the adversarial system where the role of the court is that an
imperial reference between parties.
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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16. Bandwagon argues that rejection (or a threat of rejection)


may influence ones decisions or conclusions. It is fallacious in
that solid or objective evidence takes a backseat over peerpressure.
The bandwagon fallacy, also called argumentum ad
numerum, believes in: if many believe so, it is so.
Example:
A:

If I can help it I go for fish and vegetables.

B:

Why thats food for oldies!

You better shape up, or else people will think


that you are undisciplined.
17. Begging the Question is a fallacy where the
conclusion is assumed in the premises. Also called petition
principii (assuming the initial point), is fallacious in that the
conclusion to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the
premise. Seldom is anyone going to simply place the conclusion
word-for-word into the premises.
According to Paul Herrick seldom is anyone going to
simply place the conclusion word-for-word into the premises
Rather, an arguer might use phraseology that conceals the fact
that the conclusion is masquerading as a premise. The
conclusion is rephrased to look different and is the placed in the
premises.10

Example:
Shes a lover of music. After all, she plays the piano
everyday.
You better follow what I say because I told you
so. Im your father and you better follow me.
10 Herrick Paul. The Many Worlds of Logic. Oxford University Press, 200.
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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He is mad right now, because I could see that


he is really angry.
I know your decision is not illegal or immoral.
My proof is, it is not prohibited by the law.
18. Biased Sample is committed when a conclusion is
taken from a sample, which in turn was taken from a clearly
biased source.11
Example:
If one wants to find out whether Filipinos are fond of
eating vegetables would have a biased conclusion if
the sample was taken during a meeting of
vegetarians and animal rights activists.
11 Three types of samples are used to avoid bias: 1. Random Sample: this
is a sample that is taken in such a way that nothing by chance determines
which members of the population are selected for the sample. Ideally, any
individual member of the population has the same chance as being selected
as any other. This type of sample avoids being biased because a biased
sample is one that is taken in such a way that some members of the
population has a significantly greater chance of being selected for the
sample than other members. 2. Stratified Sample: This is a sample that is
taken by using the following steps: a) The relevant strata (population
subgroups) are identified, b) The number of members in each stratum is
determined and c) A random sample is taken from each stratum in exact
proportion to its size. This method is obviously most useful when dealing with
stratified populations. For example, a persons income often influences how
she votes, so when conducting a presidential poll it would be a good idea to
take a stratified sample using economic classes as the basis for determining
the strata. This method avoids loaded samples by (ideally) ensuring that
each stratum of the population is adequately represented. 3. The Lapse
Sample: This type of sample is taken by taking a stratified or random
sample and then taking at least one more sample with a significant lapse of
time between them. After the two samples are taken, they can be compared
for changes. This method of sample taking is very important when making
predictions. A prediction based only on one sample is likely to be a Hasty
Generalization (because the sample is likely to be too small to cover past,
present, and future populations) or a Biased Sample (because the sample will
only include instances from one time period). Quoted from
http://www.nizcor.org/features/fallacies/biased-sample.html. Last viewed
November 24, 2009.
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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19. Burden of Proof also called argumentum ad


ignorantiam, it argues that something is true because no one has
proved it to be false, or arguing that something is false because
no one has proved it to be true. The argument is fallacious in
that the lack of evidence on, say, side A is taken as proof for
evidence that side B is true.
Example:
Heaven exists. After all, no one has proved it
does not exist.
Heaven does not exists. After all, no one has
proved it exists.
Im innocent, not a robber or thief. No one has
presented evidence that I stole or robbed.
20. Circumstantial ad Hominem attacks any persons
claim by saying it is done out of self-interest. The argument is
fallacious in that instead of hearing reason and objective
evidence, the arguer assumes that the other party is motivated
by his personal interests, such as promoting his business,
religion, honor, or political affiliation. A persons background may
not have a bearin in the truth value of what he is saying.
Example:
Of course Martina is against cruelty to animals.
After all she is a vegetarian, and maintains a
lucrative pet shop business.
The judge is dead-set against granting
annulments or imposing death. He is a lay minister,
and is expected to hold such views.
21. Composition the fallacy of composition argues that
what is true of the part is likewise true of the whole itself. The
argument is fallacious because it cannot be inferred simply that
Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |
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just because a part (or parts) has a distinct characteristic, the


whole will have the same characteristics.
Example:
Sal is Spanish for salt. Pan de sal has salt.
Therefore, pan de sal is salty.
Pure oxygen damages the kidneys. Water has
oxygen. Therefore water is bad for the kidneys.
This dream team consists of the countrys
top debaters.
There is no way it can be beaten.
22. Confusing Cause and Effect also called the
fallacy of questionable cause, argues that just because the
events occur together, one must be the cause of the other. The
argument is fallacious in that there is not necessarily any causal
link between two things just because they occur together. See
Ignoring a Common Cause
Example:
Alcoholics are often very shy people. Shyness
is therefore the cause of alcoholism.
At about the time Rodante divorced his wife, he
kept seeing a psychiatrist. Im sure the psychiatrist
influenced Rodantes decision to separate.
23. Division The fallacy of division argues that what is
true of the whole is necessarily true of its parts. The argument of
fallacious in that what is true generally is not always true
particularly.

Example:

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Forbes subdivision is peopled by extremely


wealthy people. If Marito lives there, he must
therefore be extremely wealthy.
Boy Scouts is a movement composed of
young men and boys. X being a member must also
be a young man or boy. (This is fallacious as facts
show that girls may be members of the Boy Scouts.)
24. False Dilemma also called black and white fallacy,
happens when one argues that there could only be two choices
for the problem, or when one attempts to make the middle point
between two extremes as one of the extremes. The argument is
fallacious in that there may be more than two choices involved in
the problem, or the middle point may not be the other extreme
of the continuum.
Example:
Either he is a communist or secretly religious.
I am sorry you are homosexual. You would have
been a decent person.
You are no longer visiting me. It seems you do
not love me.
Either you go to church, or I will think you are
an atheist.
25. Gamblers Fallacy also called Monte Carlo fallacy,
argues that since, for example, a penny has fallen tails ten times
in a row then it will fall heads the eleventh time, or if an airline
has not had an accident for the past ten years, it is soon due for
an accident. The argument is fallacious in that it rejects the
assumption in probability theory that each event is independent
of its previous happening.

Example:

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(Medical joke) Im sure you will survive. Medical


literature says that 10 survive in this illness. So far I
have 9 patients and they did not survive. You are my
10th, so you will survive.
26. Genetic Fallacy also called reductive or nothing but
fallacy, argues that the origin of a thing is identical with that
form which it originates. The argument is fallacious in that the
product or consequence of a thing is not necessarily the same as
that from which it came from.
Example:
He is a criminals son. He must have criminal
genes, or worse, is nothing but a criminal himself.
People from that section of the city are
notorious pick-pockets and drug addicts. Thus,
beware of him.
Her mother won Miss Philippines. She will, too,
someday.
27. Guilt by Association also called the bad company
fallacy or company that you keep fallacy, argues that an idea
should not be accepted simply because among those who accept
the idea are people one does not like. The argument is fallacious
in that the truth of an idea is not determined by the character of
those who accept it.
Example:
I dont like that movie. It is the favorite of my
husbands ex-girlfriend.
I feel uncomfortable explaining biblical verses
to you in the park. When I was younger, religious
debaters regularly quote Bible verses in this park and
scram to one another.

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28. Hasty Generalization also called fallacy of hasty


induction, occurs when a general statement is asserted which is
based on limited information, inadequate evidence or
unrepresentative sampling.12 The argument is fallacious because
not enough support is given to base the conclusion on. In a court
setting, not enough evidence is offered to support a decision.
Example:
A foreign actress checked in a hotel in Manila found
cockroaches. In the press interview, she concluded
that the Philippines is full of cockroaches.
A State vice president was in an elementary
school and wanted to help a 12 year-old boy spell
potato. When the vice president wrote potatoe,
he got a rounding from the media who thereafter
concluded, based on a single boo-boo, that the vicepresident is a dummy in spelling.
29. Ignoring a Common Cause also called the fallacy
of questionable cause, happens when a conclusion is made that
A causes B simply because A and B are regularly associated or
connected. The argument is fallacious in that it ignores the
possibility that there might be a third factor that caused both A
and B. that A need not be the cause of B.
Example:
Jerry noticed that everytime his best friend
Marvin goes with him to the golf course, he wins.
Jerry attributed his luck to Marvin.
(Joke) Julias husband loves to drink coffee with
her. After his death, Julia would suffer headaches
everytime she drinks coffee. She attributed this to
her missing her husband, having associated coffee
with him. In fact, it was the spoon which Julia
12 The other names of this fallacy are: a) Fallacy of Insufficient Statistics; b)
Fallacy of Insufficient Sample; c) Leaping to a Conclusion; and d) Hasty
Induction.
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regularly forgets to take out from the cup that causes


her migraine.
30. Middle Ground also called the fallacy of moderation
or the golden mean fallacy, it happens when the arguer assumes
that the mean (or middle position) between two extreme
positions must be the correct position. The argument is fallacious
because it does not follow that the mean is always the correct
position.
Example:
Splitting the middle is a common strategy in
mediation. Sometimes it helps to have the parties
settle at the middle. However, this is not always true
as the examples below will show:
You want to sell your new laptop for
P40,500.00. joey, a graduate student,
desperately wants to buy a laptop but
only has P500.00 in his pocket. If you
really want to help Joey, as you said, why
are you unwilling to go half-half?
Between literacy and illiteracy, the
best is to be somewhere in the middle. (A
patent absurdity!)
31. Misleading Vividness occurs when a person
decided based on a few dramatic or emotional events rather
than on the evidence presented. The argument is fallacious in
that just because an event is vivid, does not always make it the
basis for ones decisions.
Example:
Her husband, when he was alive, used to say
that small fish is especially rich in protein. Now that
hes gone, she buys nothing but small fish, I spite
scientific evidence that fish, whether big or small, are
equally rich sources of protein.
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I know someone who does not eat eggs,


despite the fact that eggs are among the most
nutritious of foods. He said, when he was a child, he
was punished while eating an egg that he fell to the
floor. Now he will not have anything to do with eggs.
32. Personal Attack also called ad hominem abusive,
the fallacy of personal attack happens when abusive remarks
against the speaker take the place of objective evidence.
Example:
I cannot believe what you have to say, young
man. You are only a few months-old lawyer, and have
to eat some more rice.
Look at the dermatologists face. Its full of
pimples. How can we believe what he has to say?
33. Poisoning the Well happens when one discredits
what a speaker will have to say in the future by giving in
advance an unfavorable information about the speaker.
Example:
The girl is a pathological liar. Do not believe a
single word from her.
He has had six failed relationship in the past.
You may be the 7th. Avoid him.
34. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc literally: after this,
therefore because of this, argues that just because event A
occurred ahead of time, event A was the cause of event B.
Example:
Marin does not send here applications to
courier A. Everytime she does, she gets rejected.
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Everytime Jim wears red, he passes an exam.


Red contributed to his passing the exam.
Generally, superstitious beliefs are examples of
the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
35. Questionable Cause argues that because two
things are associated on a regular basis, one is the cause of the
other. While the two events in post hoc fallacy come one after
the other, in questionable cause they go together.
Example:
A killed B. After all, they were seen together
and arguing about shoes the night before.
36. Red Herring happens when a topic foreign to the
issue is suddenly introduced in order to divert attention from the
original issue.
Example:
After a senators talk, a student asked:
Senator, dont you think it is high time that we pass
a law making education compulsory to all children
below 18? The senator cuttingly replied, You know,
we already have too many laws regulating this and
that.
Besides , the parents are to blame for
producing too many children they can ill afford to
send to school.
A city kagawad pushed for the passage of a law
regulating the dumping of waste on city rivers.
Suddenly, his colleague cut him and said: These
multi-national corporations are really out to control
the world. Another said: I remember who cleaned
our rivers when I was a kid. We used to swim and
catch fish there.

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37. Relativist Fallacy occurs when a person dismisses


a claim by saying that while the claim may be true for other
people, it may not work for him. The argument is fallacious in
that objective evidence may be by-passed in order to suit ones
whims.
Example:
A healthy non-smoking lifestyle
others, but it does not work for me.

may

suit

Contrary to evidence, I still maintain that


eating pork fat boiled in soy sauce and black beans is
one of mankinds great pleasures.
38. Slippery slope argues that once a person allows
an event to happen another event will inevitably follow. The
argument is fallacious in that there is no objective evidence to
suggest that the second evidence will necessarily follow.
Example:
You know young ladies. Once you allow your
boyfriend to touch you beyond elbow, there is no
stopping after that.
Do not give in.
If you do, you will find
squatters occupying each and every inch of your
property.
39. Special Pleadings argues that rule or principles
only apply to others but not to oneself without giving relevant
reason (or relevant difference) why he should be exempt. This
fallacy is a plain case of imposing double standard.

Example:

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Be careful young man. If you do something


illegal, you will be arrested. In my case, I have my
battery of lawyers to back me up.
You must not drink. It is not good for you
health. Dont mind us. We are used to this.
40. Spotlight occurs when one assumes that those
who receive the most media attention are representatives of the
group to which they belong. The argument is fallacious in that
those who receive the most media attention are not necessarily
representative of the whole. This fallacy is similar to hasty
generalization.
Example:
Its often in the news that this and that
celebrity had divorces and married several times. I
guess
actors
and
actresses
are
naturally
promiscuous.
Romblon people are often features winning in
track and filed events. Indeed, Romblon people are
great runners. Maybe it is in their genes.
41. Straw man the straw man fallacy presents an
opponents position in a weak or absurd way so that it can easily
refuted. The argument is fallacious in that one deliberately
misrepresents or does not include the strong points in the others
position thereby giving the impression that the arguers points
are strong.
Example:
Supporters of the new reproductive bill
encourage contraceptives.
Contraceptives cause
abortion, and abortion is killing. Thus, we must
oppose the bill. (This is fallacious in that not all
contraceptives cause abortion).

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42. Two Wrongs Make a Right argues that if the


other party did illegal things, then it is okay for one to make an
illegal activity. The argument is fallacious in that an unlawful act
done by another has no bearing on whatever act one chooses for
oneself.
Example:
Bribing officials to win cases is okay. After all,
Mr. A, a famous lawyer, does it.
I have no qualms receiving election money
from candidates. Everones doing it; and it is not the
candidates money to start with.

Persuasiveness and Fallacy SY 2015-2016 Atty. Marilyn P. Cacho-Domingo |


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