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FALLACIES

WRD104: Composition & Rhetoric II Winter 2014

APPEALS TO THE MIND

APPEALS TO AUTHORITY
Definition
Claiming something is

Example
They say once you

true because an expert says it is


Using evidence from

get a cat, youll love them for life!

Hundreds of

an unnamed expert or group to claim something is true

prestigious doctors agree ADHD is a made-up disorder.

APPEAL TO COMMON PRACTICE


Definition
Something is true

Example
Social media must

because it is commonly practiced.

be good, because everyone uses it.

APPEAL TO TRADITION
Definition
Claiming

Example
Women have

something is true because it has always been that way.

traditionally played the homemaker, therefore that is their rightful place in a family

APPEAL TO POPULAR BELIEF


Definition
Claiming something is true

Example
Justin Beiber must be a

because the majority of people believe it.

talented musician because his albums are always top sellers.

APPEALS TO EMOTIONS
Pity attempting to induce pity to sway opponents (see Prezi) Spite Dismissing a claim by appealing to personal bias against

the opposition
Fear An argument made by increasing fear and prejudice

towards the opposition


Nature Making your claim seem more true by drawing

comparisons to what is natural

MANIPULATING CONTENT

BEGGING THE QUESTION


Definition:
Making a claim while leaving

Example:
Labeling food with food

out one or more major contributing factors that may affect the conclusion

warnings will encourage people to eat healthier

RED HERRING (SEE PREZI)


Definition: Example:

Introducing

The senator doesnt

irrelevant material to the argument to distract and lead towards a different conclusion.

need to account for irregularities in his expense account. After all, there are other senators who have done worse things

SLIPPERY SLOPE (SEE PREZI)


Definition:
Assuming a relatively small

Example:
If we allow same sex

first step will inevitably lead to a chain of related, negative events.

marriage, people will eventually want to marry animals or inanimate objects.

FAULTY DEDUCTIONS

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
Definition:
Discounting Evidence arrived

Example:
Its okay to smoke my

at by systematic search or testing in favor of a few first hand stories.

grandfather did for 70 years, and lived to be 85!

COMPOSITION/DIVISION

HASTY GENERALIZATION (SEE PREZI)


Definition:
Drawing a conclusion from a

Example:
The guys cologne on the

tiny sample.

train smelled awful. All cologne is awful!

SWEEPING GENERALIZATION
Definition:
Applying a general rule too

Example:
A lot of teenagers went to

broadly.

the Justin Beiber concert the other day. All teenagers must love Justin Beiber.

ON THE ATTACK

AD HOMINEM
Definition:
Bypassing the argument by

Example:
Of course she shouldnt be

launching an irrelevant attack on the person, not the claim.

reelected to office, she acknowledged she hate Justin Beiber!

STRAW MAN
Definition: Example:

Creating a distorted

You say Israel

or simplified version of the oppositions stance, and arguing against that.

should stop building settlements on the West Bank? So youre saying Israel doesnt have the right to be a nation?

CAUSE & EFFECT

POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC


Defintion:
Claiming that because one

Example:
Since Obama was elected,

event followed another, it is also caused by it.

more people than ever are unemployed. Obama is bad for the economy

CAUSAL FALLACY
Definition: Example:

Claiming two events

Rap music is

that occur together must have a causeand-effect relationship.

violent, and teens listen to rap music. Therefore, rap music must cause teens to be violent.

AFFIRMING THE CONSEQUENT


Definition: Example:

Assuming theres

A lot of people who

only one explanation for the observations youre making.

use social media also have short attention spans. Social media must effect attention span.

CIRCULAR LOGIC
Definition: Example:

A conclusion is

Stripping privacy

drawn from a premise based on the conclusion.

rights only matters to those with something to hide. You must have something to hide if you oppose privacy protection