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15 Logical Fallacies

A fallacy is a flaw in argument, an irrational statement that has no logical grounds for consideration.

Emotional Fallacies

  1. Scare tactics involve content that is meant to frighten the reader and cause them to follow irrational logic because of such fear.
  2. Either/or choices reduced a complicated issue to excessively simple terms and may be designed to obscure legitimate alternatives.
  3. Slipperly slope exaggerates possible consequences of an action and is also a scare tactic.
  4. A sentimental appeal uses excessive emotion to distract readers from the facts and may be highly personal.
  5. Band wagon appeal urges people to follow the same course of action as everyone else

Ethical Fallacies

  1. An appeal to false authority draws on the credibility of a widely respected person, institution, group, text, et cetera, that does not work in conjunction with the argument. It may also appear when an author offers themselves or other unqualified authorities as sufficient evidence.
  2. A dogmatic fallacy occurs when it is assumed that a particular position is the only conceivably acceptable one within a community, or that the truth is self-evident to those who know better.
  3. Moral equivalence suggests that minor wrongdoings do not differ from major ones.
  4. An ad hominem (literally “to the man”) attack is one based on the character of a person rather than their argument. It reasoned that if one destroys the credibility of one’s opponent, one also destroys the credibility of anything they might say and damages their ability to present reasonable appeals.

Logical Fallacies

  1. A hasty generalization is drawn from insufficient evidence, often stereotypes.
  2. Faulty causality, or post hoc, ergo proptor hoc (”after this, therefore because of this”), assumes that because one action follows another, the first necessarily causes the second. (An example being: Overweight people drink diet sodas, therefore, diet sodas cause people to become overweight.)
  3. Begging the question is a form of circular argument occurring when a claim is made on grounds that cannot be accepted as true because those grounds are in question, e.g. “you can’t give me a “C” in this course because I’m an “A” student”
  4. An equivocation is a lie with an honest appearance, or half truth, and is general a rather juvenile trick of language.
  5. A non sequitur is when claims, reasons, or warrants fail to logically connect, or one point does not follow another, e.g. “if you loved me, you’d buy me that,” which supposes that buying things for someone demonstrates love for them.
  6. When comparisons are pushed too far or taken too seriously, one may come across a faulty analogy.

(Conventions of Argument)

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