What Are the Logical Fallacies? 1) UNQUALIFICATION GENERALIZATION (or Dicto Simpliciter). Note the following example.

All Americans are friendly. Lawyers never tell the truth. Women always love babies. Beware of words like always, all, never, every: complex situations are simply not that black-and-white. Your generalizations will be more credible if you LIMIT them by using qualifiers such as sometimes, seem, in my experience, often, many, or perhaps. 2) HASTY GENERALIZATION. Related to the preceding, this is a conclusion drawn from too few samples. An example follows: That the students are smoking in the cafeteria leads me to conclude that most college students smoke. 3) NAME CALLING (or Poisoning the Well or Ad Hominem, i.e., argument attacking the man rather than the issue). Note the following example: Senator X just divorced his wife. How can his proposal be any good? 4) APPEAL TO PITY (Ad Misericordiam). For instance: We should reelect Senator X; after all, he has a crippled mother, a retarded son, and his wife just died. 5) AD POPULEM (appeal to the people, to what they want to hear or to what they fear). For example: We know we can count on you, the generous American. We don't want those people coming with their "red" ideas, do we? 6) BANDWAGON APPEAL. Closely related to the above fallacy, it's the "everybody is doing it" argument. No one wants to be left out. If "everybody's doing it," then don't you want to "get on the bandwagon," right or wrong? 7) TESTIMONIAL (or association). For example: George Washington once made the same point as Senator X. It's the Christian thing to do, because, as Jesus says,...

8) HYPOTHESIS CONTRARY TO FACT. For example: The Pony Express stopped running in 1861. It must have been a failure. (The fact that the telegraph and the railroad made it obsolete and therefore unnecessary.) 9) FAULTY CAUSE AND EFFECT (confusing coincidental time sequence with genuine causation, sometimes called POST HOC). For example: Everytime I forget my umbrella, it rains, therefore I cause the rain by leaving my umbrella at home, and I can guarantee a nice day by bringing my umbrella. 10) FALSE ANALOGY (or trying to PROVE a point by analogy). For instance: You shouldn't change in midstream; therefore you must reelect Senator X. (He isn't a horse, and the nation's business is not a river. It is no problem changing senators; in fact, if Senator S is doing a poor job, our "ride" will be easier with Senator Y "pulling" us!) 11) EITHER-OR (or the two-alternatives fallacy). Examples include: - Would you rather have a senator who is handsome and dumb or one who is ugly and intelligent? (One can be intelligent and hand some; one can be not-bad looking rather than ugly. Notice that in "Love is a Fallacy" our brilliant student/teacher commits this same fallacy. Can you find the fallacy?) - You are either FOR the law or against it! (And what if I am for PARTS of it or for it under certain circumstances but not all of them?) 12) BEGGING THE QUESTION (or circular argument). This fallacy avoids proving the truth of the conclusion by ASSUMING the truth of it in advance. For example: In a democracy the people are free because democracies are free countries.

Logical Fallacies or Fallacies in Argumentation 1. Ad hominim - Attacking the individual instead of the argument. 1. Example: You are so stupid you argument couldn't possibly be true. 2. Example: I figured that you couldn't possibly get it right, so I ignored your comment. 2. Appeal to force - The hearer is told that something bad will happen to him if he does not accept the argument.

1. Example: If you don't want to get beat up, you will agree with what I say. 2. Example: Convert or die.
3. Appeal to pity - The hearer is urged to accept the argument based upon an appeal to emotions, sympathy, etc. 1. Example: You owe me big time because I really stuck my neck out for you. 2. Example: Oh come on, I've been sick. That's why I missed the deadline. 4. Appeal to the popular - the hearer is urged to accept a position because a majority of people hold to it. 1. Example: The majority of people like soda. Therefore, soda is good. 2. Example: Everyone else is doing it. Why shouldn't you? 5. Appeal to tradition - trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time. 1. Example: This is the way we've always done it. Therefore, it is the right way. 2. Example: The Catholic church's tradition demonstrates that this doctrine is true. 6. Begging the Question - Assuming the thing to be true that you are trying to prove. It is circular. 1. Example: God exists because the Bible says so. The Bible is inspired. Therefore, we know that God exists. 2. Example: I am a good worker because Frank says so. How can we trust Frank? Simple. I will vouch for him. 7. Cause and Effect - assuming that the effect is related to a cause because the events occur together. 1. Example: When the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise. 2. Example: When the fuel light goes on in my car, I soon run out of gas. Therefore, the fuel light causes my car to run out of gas. 8. Circular Argument - see Begging the Question 9. Division - assuming that what is true of the whole is true for the parts. 1. Example: That car is blue. Therefore, its engine is blue. 2. Example: Your family is weird. That means that you are weird too. 10. Equivocation - The same term is used in an argument in different places but the word has different meanings. 1. Example: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Therefore, a bird is worth more than President Bush. 2. Example: Evolution states that one species can change into another. We see that cars have evolved into different styles. Therefore, since evolution is a fact in cars, it is true in species. 11. False Dilemma - Two choices are given when in actuality there could be more choices possible. 1. Example: You either did knock the glass over or you did not. Which is it? 2. Example: Do you still beat your wife? 12. Genetic Fallacy - The attempt to endorse or disqualify a claim because of the origin or irrelevant history of the claim 1. Example: The Nazi regime developed the Volkswagen Beetle. Therefore, you should not by a VW Beetle because of who started it. 2. Example: Frank's just got out of jail last year and since it was his idea to start the hardware store, I can't trust him. 13. Guilt by Association - Rejecting an argument or claim because the person proposing it likes someone is disliked by another. 1. Example: Hitler liked dogs. Therefore dogs are bad. 2. Example: Your friend is a thief. Therefore, I cannot trust you. 14. Non Sequitur - Comments or information that do not logically follow from a premise or the conclusion. 1. Example: We know why it rained today, because I washed my car.

2. Example: I don't care what you say. We don't need any more bookshelves. As long
as the carpet is clean, we are fine. 15. Poisoning the well - Presenting negative information about a person before he/she speaks so as to discredit the person's argument. 1. Example: Frank is pompous, arrogant, and thinks he knows everything. So, let's hear what Frank has to say about the subject. 2. Example: Don't listen to him because he is a loser. 16. Red Herring - The introduction of a topic not related to the subject at hand. 1. Example: I know your car isn't working right. But, if you had gone to the store one day earlier, you'd not be having problems. 2. Example: I know I forgot to deposit the check into the bank yesterday. But, nothing I do pleases you. 17. Special Pleading (double standard) - Applying a different standard to another that is applied to oneself. 1. Example: You can't possibly understand menopause because you are a man. 2. Example: Those rules don't apply to me since since I am older than you. 18. Straw Man Argument - Producing an argument to attack that is a weaker representation of the truth. 1. Example: The government doesn't take care of the poor because it doesn't have a tax specifically to support the poor. 2. Example: We know that evolution is false because we did not evolve from monkeys. 19. Category Mistake - Attributing a property to something that could not possibly have that property. 1. Example: Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday. 2. Example: Saying logic is transcendental is like saying cars would exist if matter didn't. Accent The accent fallacy is a fallacy of ambiguity due to the different ways a word is emphasized or accented. Example: A member of Congress is asked by a reporter if she is in favor of the President's new missile defense system, and she responds, "I'm in favor of a missile defense system that effectively defends America." With an emphasis on the word "favor", this remark is likely to favor the President's missile defense system. With an emphasis, instead, on the words "effectively defends", this remark is likely to be against the President's missile defense system. Aristotle's fallacy of accent allowed only a shift in which syllable is accented within a word. Accident We often arrive at a generalization but don't or can't list all the exceptions. When we reason with the generalization as if it has no exceptions, we commit the fallacy of accident. This fallacy is sometimes called the fallacy of sweeping generalization. Example: People should keep their promises, right? I loaned Dwayne my knife, and he said he'd return it. Now he is refusing to give it back, but I need it right now to slash up my neighbors' families. Dwayne isn't doing right by me. People should keep their promises, but there are exceptions as in this case of the psychopath who wants Dwayne to keep his promise to return the knife.

Amphiboly This is an error due to taking a grammatically ambiguous phrase in two different ways during the reasoning. Example: In a cartoon, two elephants are driving their car down the road in India. They say, "We've better not get out here," as they pass a sign saying: ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR Upon one grammatical construction of the sign, the pronoun "YOUR" refers to the elephants in the car, but on another construction it refers to those humans who are driving cars in the vicinity. Unlike equivocation, which is due to multiple meanings of a phrase, amphiboly is due to syntactic ambiguity, ambiguity caused by alternative ways of taking the grammar.

Begging the Question A form of circular reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from premises that presuppose the conclusion. Normally, the point of good reasoning is to start out at one place and end up somewhere new, namely having reached the goal of increasing the degree of reasonable belief in the conclusion. The point is to make progress, but in cases of begging the question there is no progress. Example: "Women have rights," said the Bullfighters Association president. "But women shouldn't fight bulls because a bullfighter is and should be a man." The president is saying basically that women shouldn't fight bulls because women shouldn't fight bulls. This reasoning isn't making an progress toward determining whether women should fight bulls. Insofar as the conclusion of a deductively valid argument is "contained" in the premises from which it is deduced, this containing might seem to be a case of presupposing, and thus any deductively valid argument might seem to be begging the question. It is still an open question among logicians as to why some deductively valid arguments are considered to be begging the question and others are not. Some logicians suggest that, in informal reasoning with a deductively valid argument, if the conclusion is psychologically new insofar as the premises are concerned, then the argument isn't an example of the fallacy. Other logicians suggest that we need to look instead to surrounding circumstances, not to the psychology of the reasoner, in order to assess the quality of the argument. For example, we need to look to the reasons that the reasoner used to accept the premises. Was the premise justified on the basis of accepting the conclusion? A third group of logicians say that, in deciding whether the fallacy is committed, we need more. We must determine whether any premise that is key to deducing the conclusion is adopted rather blindly or instead is a reasonable assumption made by someone accepting their burden of proof. The premise would here be termed reasonable if the arguer could defend it independently of accepting the conclusion that is at issue. Composition The composition fallacy occurs when someone mistakenly assumes that a characteristic of some or all the individuals in a group is also a characteristic of the group itself, the group "composed" of those members. It is the converse of the division fallacy. Example:

Each human cell is very lightweight, so a human being composed of cells is also very lightweight. Division Merely because a group as a whole has a characteristic, it often doesn't follow that individuals in the group have that characteristic. If you suppose that it does follow, when it doesn't, you commit the fallacy of division. It is the converse of the composition fallacy. Example: Joshua's soccer team is the best in the division because it had an undefeated season and shared the division title, so Joshua, who is their goalie, must be the best goalie in the division. Equivocation Equivocation is the illegitimate switching of the meaning of a term during the reasoning. Example: Brad is a nobody, but since nobody is perfect, Brad must be perfect, too. The term "nobody" changes its meaning without warning in the passage. So does the term "political jokes" in this joke: I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected. False Cause Improperly concluding that one thing is a cause of another. The Fallacy of Non Causa Pro Causa is another name for this fallacy. Its four principal kinds are the Post Hoc Fallacy, the Fallacy of Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, the Regression Fallacy, and the Fallacy of Reversing Causation. Example: My psychic adviser says to expect bad things when Mars is aligned with Jupiter. Tomorrow Mars will be aligned with Jupiter. So, if a dog were to bite me tomorrow, it would be because of the alignment of Mars with Jupiter. Ignoratio Elenchi If an arguer argues for a certain conclusion while falsely believing or suggesting that a different conclusion is established, one for which the first conclusion is irrelevant, then the arguer commits the fallacy of irrelevant conclusion. Example: In court, Thompson testifies that the defendant is a honorable person, who wouldn't harm a flea. The defense attorney rises to say that Thompson's testimony shows his client was not near the murder scene. The testimony of Thompson may be relevant to a request for leniency, but it is irrelevant to any claim about the defendant not being near the murder scene.

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