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What is a fallacy?
- Logical fallacies are errors in logic.
- Failure to provide adequate evidence to support a claim
Why should fallacies be avoided?
- Weaken argument
- Recognizing fallacies when they appear in someone else’s argument will help you to assess the effectiveness of the argument
- The bandwagon appeal makes the claim that everyone is thinking this or doing that.
- Fallacious because it asks us to get on board with it without weighing the evidence of what is being promoted.
Begging the Question
- Similar to circular reasoning, begging the question passes off as true something that needs to be proven.
- Begging the question often occurs when the claim is restated and passed off as evidence.
- A false analogy compares things that don’t match up feature for feature.
- A false analogy can also occur when ideas are compared that don’t connect or are their connection is pressed beyond legitimacy.
- An either-or fallacy involves the simplification of complex issues into an either/or choice. For this reason, it is also often referred to as a “False Dilemma”.
- This type of fallacy doesn’t take the time to establish the issue or offer evidence to support the claim. Instead, it appeals to ignorance and prejudice.
- As the name indicates, a hasty generalization takes place when a writer arrives at a conclusion based on too little evidence.
- Hasty generalizations can also occur when a writer relies on evidence that is not factual or substantiated.
- Be wary of sweeping, uncritical statements such as always, all, none, never, only, and most.
- From the Latin for “does not follow,” a non sequitur draws a conclusion that does not follow logically from the premise.
- A non sequitur ties together two unrelated ideas.
- From the Latin for “after this, therefore because of this,” a post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument is one that establishes a questionable cause-and-effect relationship between events.
- This type of fallacy suggests that because Y follows X, X caused Y.
- This fallacy is commonly found in arguments made by (or geared towards) superstitious people--people looking for big, simple explanations.
- The slippery slope presumes that one event will inevitably lead to a chain of other events that end in a catastrophe—as one slip on a mountaintop will cause a climber to tumble down and bring with him/her all those in tow.
- The domino-effect reasoning is a fallacy because it depends more on presumption than hard evidence.
- This strategy refutes another person’s actual position by substituting an exaggerated or distorted version of that position.
- The straw man is a diversionary tactic that sets up another’s position in a way that can be easily rejected.
- What makes the straw man a fallacy is that the user declares the opponent’s conclusion to be wrong because of flaws in another, lesser argument: The straw man user presents a fictitious or misrepresented version of the opponent’s argument , and refutes that.
This strategy minimizes the argument, not taking into consideration the vast complexities involved in most situations.
This strategy comes up with excuses and weak explanations for their own and others’ behavior.
This strategy exaggerates positions and groups by representing them as extreme and divisive.
This strategy labels their opposition without clearly defining the terms they use.
Stacking the Deck
when writers give only the evidence that supports their premise, while disregarding contrary evidence
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