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A. Formal Fallacy- These are invalid arguments. The arguments where the concluding statement
does not necessarily follow from the statements preceding it. It is on the matter of form and
structure of an argument. The concluding statement may actually be objectively true, but it’s
truth does not depend on or follow from the other statement. (
B. Informal Fallacy- The content of the language used is fallacious. This type is more dependent
on the misuse of language and evidence and more prevalent in everyday uses of language.
Types of Informal Fallacies
Fallacies of relevance. Fallacies of relevance are the most numerous and
the most frequently encountered. In these fallacies, the premises of the argument are simply not
relevant to the conclusion. However, because they are made
to appear to be relevant, they may deceive.

• R1: The appeal to the populace • R5: The attack on the person
• R2: The appeal to emotion • R6: The appeal to force
• R3: The red herring • R7: Missing the point (irrelevant
• R4: The straw man conclusion)

Fallacies of defective induction. In fallacies of defective induction, which

are also common, the mistake arises from the fact that the premises of the argument, although
relevant to the conclusion, are so weak and ineffective that
relying on them is a blunder.

• D1: The argument from ignorance • D3: False cause

• D2: The appeal to inappropriate authority • D4: Hasty generalization

Fallacies of presumption. In fallacies of presumption, too much is assumed in

the premises. The inference to the conclusion depends mistakenly on these
unwarranted assumptions.
• P1: Accident
• P2: Complex question
• P3: Begging the question
Fallacies of ambiguity. The incorrect reasoning in fallacies of ambiguity
arises from the equivocal use of words or phrases. Some word or phrase in one
part of the argument has a meaning different from that of the same word or
phrase in another part of the argument.
• A1: Equivocation • A4: Composition
• A2: Amphiboly • A5: Division
• A3: Accent


 Fallacious arguments in which the premises are relevant and yet are wholly inadequate.
 Premise seems to provide ground for the conclusion but proven to be insufficient upon
analysis. (
D1. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam(Ignorance)- A fallacy in which a proposition is held to be
true just because it has not been proven false, or false because it has not been proven true.
Ignorance sometimes obliges us to suspend judgment, assigning neither truth nor falsity to
the proposition in doubt.
Common Example:
No one can actually prove that God exists; therefore God does not exist.
The principle in Criminal Law that an accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is
proven beyond reasonable doubt. A defense counsel may legitimately claim that the accused
is innocent as the prosecution has not proved the guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

D2. Argumentum ad Verecundiam(Inappropriate Authority)- A fallacy in which a conclusion

is accepted as true simply because an expert has said that it is true. This is a fallacy whether
or not the expert’s area of expertise is relevant to the conclusion. Instead of presenting the
actual evidence, the argument just relies on the credibility of the “authority”. However, if the
experts chosen deserved their reputation for knowledge, it was no fallacy to consult them
even if they erred. The mistake becomes a fallacy when our conclusion is based exclusively
upon the verdict of an authority.
Common Example:
A commercial that claims that a specific brand of cereal is the best way to start the day
because athlete Micheal Jordan says that it is what he eats everyday for breakfast.

D3. Argument non Causa pro Causa(False Cause)- A fallacy in which something that is not
really the cause of something else is treated as its cause. The argument mistakenly attempt to
establish a causal connection.
A. Post hoc ergo propter hoc(after this, therefore because of this)- the fallacy in arguing that
one event was caused by another event merely because it occurred after that
Since hair always precedes the growth of teeth in babies, the growth of teeth causes the
growth of teeth.
B. Slippery Slope- A fallacy in which change in a particular direction is asserted to lead
inevitably to further changes (usually undesirable) in the same direction.
If we allow gay marriage, the next thing we know, people will want to marry their dogs, or
their cats, or even their pigs.

D4. Hasty Generalization- A fallacy of defective induction in which one moves carelessly
from a single case, or a very few cases, to a largescale generalization about all or most cases.
It arises when someone illegitimately generalize from a nonrepresentative sample which is
usually the source of many stereotypes. (
The car that just cut me off is from South Dakota, so all South Dakotans are jerks.

 An informal fallacy caused by a shift or a confusion in the meanings of words or
phrases within an argument (sophisms).

A1. Equivocation- A fallacy in which two or more meanings of a word or phrase are
used, accidentally or deliberately, in different parts of an argument. It occurs when a key
term or phrase in an argument is used in an ambiguous way, with one meaning and then
another meaning in another portion of the argument. (
I have the right to watch “The Real World”. Therefore it’s right for me to watch the

A2. Amphiboly- A fallacy in which a loose or awkward combination of words can be

interpreted in more than one way; the argument contains a premise based upon one
interpretation, while the conclusion relies on a different interpretation. This is usually due
to defective grammar or sentence structure.
Don’t let worry kill you off- let the church help.

A3. Accent- A fallacy of ambiguity that occurs when an argument contains a premise that
relies on one possible emphasis of certain words, but the conclusion relies on a different
emphasis that gives those same words a different meaning.
In an interrogation where a police officer asks the suspect if why he shot the clerk. The
suspect responded in shock “I shot the clerk? I shot the clerk?” Later, the officer
interpreted it as a confession, “I shot the clerk!” instead that the suspect is asking if he
shot the clerk.

A4. Composition- A fallacy of ambiguity in erroneously assigns attributes to a whole (or

to a collection) based on the fact that parts of that whole (or members of that collection)
have those attributes.
Common Example:
Hydrogen is not wet. Oxygen is not wet. Therefore, water is not wet.

A5. Division- A fallacy of ambiguity in which an argument erroneously assigns attributes

to parts of a whole (or to members of a collection) based on the fact that the whole (or the
collection) has those attributes. The reverse of composition.
Common Example:
Women in this country are paid more than men. Therefore, my mom must make more
money than my dad.