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Begging the question (circular logic)

happens when the writer presents an arguable point as a fact that supports the argument. This error leads to an argument that goes around and around, with evidence making the same claim as the proposition.

Post hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (after this, therefore also this)

arguments assume a faulty casual relationship. One event following another in time does not mean that the first event caused the later event. Writers must be able to prove that one event caused another event and did not simply follow in time.

Faulty Analogies

lead to faulty conclusions. Writers often use similar situations to explain a relationship. Sometimes, though, these extended comparisons and metaphors attempt to relate ideas or situations that upon closer inspection aren't really that similar. They cannot prove anything.

Red Herring

Have little relavence to the argument at hand. Desparate arguers often try to change the ground of the argument by changing the subject. It may be related but nothing is resolved.


Happens when the writer makes use of a word's multiple meanings in the middle of the argument without really telling the audience about the shift. Often we use vague or ambiguous words.

Ignoring the question

Simliar to presenting a red herring. Rather than answering the question that has been asked or addressing the issue at hand, the writer shifts focus, supplying an unrelated argument. Dodges the real issue.

Opposing the Straw Man

a tactic used by a lot of writers because they find it easier to refute an oversimplified opposition. Writers may also only pick the oppositions's weakest or most insignificatn point to refute. Doing so diverts attention from the real issues and rarely, if ever, leads to resolution or truth.

Either- Or arguments

Reduce complex issues to black and white choices. Most often issues will have a number of choices for resolution. Because writers who use the either-or argument are creating a problem that doesn't really exist, we sometimes refer to this fallacy as a false dilemma.

Slippery Slopes

suggest that one step will inevitably lead to more, eventually negative steps. While sometimes the results may be negative, the slippery slope argues that the descent is inevitable and unalterable. Stirring up emotions against the downward slipping, this fallacy can be avoided by providing solid evidence of the eventuality rather than speculation.

Bandwagon Appeals (ad populum)

try to get everyone on board. Writers who use this approach try to convince readers that everyone believes something, so the reader should also. The fact that a lot of people believe it does not make it so.

False Authority

a tactic used by many writers, especially in advertising. An authority in one field may not know anything of another field. Knowledge in one area does not constitute knowledge in another area.

Tu Quoique (you're another)

Avoid the real argument by making similar charges against the opponent. They do little to resolve conflict.

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