15 terms

Logical Fallacies AP English

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Appealing to Pity
someone tries to win support for an argument or idea by exploiting his or her opponent's feelings of pity or guilt
ex. "I deserve to pass this course because I have had a lot of problems at home"
Appeal to Prejudice
Getting the audience riled up against a group/person instead of focusing on the issue.
Ex:
"He speaks with a funny German accent. He must be a Nazi."
appeal to tradition
Saying you have to do things this way, because you've always done it this way
ex. we didnt have student computers at school in the past so we shouldnt have them now.
appeal to analogy
comparing 2 things that aren't similar enough to compare. ex. competition is good for school because it is good for business
attacking the character of opponents
making personal attacks on opponents while ignoring what they have to say or distracting attention from it. ex. while the professor makes some good points in class, he doesn't believe in God, so I don't listen to a thing he has to say
attributing false causes
assuming that an event is the result of something that merely happened before it. "post hoc" superstition, "My sneeze made the power go off"
attributing guilt by association
occurs when someone connects an opponent to a demonized group of people or to a bad person in order to discredit his or her argument
ex. a religious candidate is responsible for the people of his religion's actions
begging the question
Often called circular reasoning, occurs when the argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion instead of supporting it
- argument goes in a circle because the conclusion is similar to the premise as well
ex. Global warming doesn't exist because the earth is not getting warmer"
equivocating
using an ambiguous term in more than one sense without acknowledging the change in meaning.
ex. I have the right to watch "New Girl" Therefore it's right for me to watch the show. So, I think I'll watch this "New Girl" marathon tonight instead of studying for my exam.
ignoring the question
ignores the real issue by the use of distracting information that has no bearing on the case; changing the subject
ex. "Should women have equal pay?" "Thats a great question! I wonder whether women really want the responsibility of higher paying jobs"
jumping to conclusions
the conclusion in question has not been supported by an adequate amount of evidence;
ex. one green apple is sour, all green apples are sour
opposing a straw man
pretending to respond to the opposer, while really setting up an artificial opposition that they can easily refute. exaggerate the views and only respond to the extreme view.
ex. "Senator Smith says that the nation should not add to the defense budget. Senator Jones says that he cannot believe that Senator Smith wants to leave the nation defenseless.
presenting a false dilemma
a speaker or writer poses a choice between 2 alternatives while implying that no other possibilities exist.
ex. a student with low grades says "Is cheating any better?" implying that there is no possibility other than cheating or low graders
reasoning that does not follow
non sequitur, describes a conclusion that does not follow logically from the explanation given. the subordinate clause does not relate to the main clause. "because the teacher likes joe, joe passed the calculus quiz"
sliding down a slippery slope
One step will inevitably lead to an undesirable end;
ex. if students are allowed to wear sleeveless shirts, soon they will be wearing no shirts at all