Upgrade to remove ads
15 Logical fallacies
The Winthrop Writing Center's 15 logical fallacies
Terms in this set (15)
Begging the Question (circular logic)
The writer presents an arguable point as a fact that supports the argument
Ex-These movies are popular because they make so much money. They make a lot of money because people like them. People like them because they are so popular
The conclusion doesn't logically follow the explanation
Ex-The rain came down so hard that Jennifer actually called me
Post Hoc (Ergo Propter Hoc)
Writer assumes that because one event follows another in time that the first event caused the second.
Ex-Eating five candy bars and drinking two sodas before a test helps me get better grades. I did that and got an A on my last test in history
Writer uses similar situations to explain a relationship but the comparisons/metaphors relate ideas or situations that upon closer inspection aren't really that similar.
Ex-Forcing students to attend cultural events is like herding cattle to slaughter. The students stampede in to the event where they are systematically 'put to sleep' by the program
An argument based on insufficient evidence; one looking only at a small group as representative of the whole.
Ex-Concluding that all fraternities are party houses because you have seen three parties at one fraternity
Little relevance is given to the argument at hand.
Ex-Winthrop should pave the lot behind Dinkins. Besides, I can never find a parking space on campus anyway.
The writer makes use of a word's multiple meanings and changes the meanings in the middle of the argument without really telling the audience about the shift.
Ex-I have told the truth, and I have always heard that the truth would set me free
Ignoring the Question
Rather than answering the question that has been asked or addressing the issue at hand, the writer shifts focus, supplying an unrelated argument, dodging the real issue of the debate.
Ex-During a press conference, a political candidate is asked a pointed, specific question about some potentially illegal fund-raising activity. Instead of answering the allegations, the candidate gives a rousing speech thanking all of his financial supporters.
Opposing a Straw Man
Writer finds it easier to refute an oversimplified opposition or pick only the opposition's weakest or most insignificant point to refute.
Ex-The debate over drink machines centers around cost and choice. Opponents of the new drink machines bring up their location as an important issue.
Either-Or Arguments (False Dilemma)
Reducing complex issues to black and white choices although there are other solutions.
Ex-Either we go to Panama City for the whole week of Spring Break, or we don't go anywhere at all
Suggesting 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
Ex-If we force public elementary school pupils to wear uniforms, eventually we will require middle school students to wear uniforms. If we require middle school students to wear uniforms, high school requirements aren't far off. Eventually even college students who attend state-funded, public universities will be forced to wear uniforms
Writer tries to convince readers that since everyone else believes something, so the reader should also.
Ex-Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong!
Assuming that an authority in one field has knowledge and credibility in another area
Ex-A popular sports star may know a lot about football, but very little about shaving cream. His expertise on the playing field does not qualify him to intelligently discuss the benefits of aloe
Writer attempts to refute the claims of the opposition by bringing the opposition's character into question.
Ex-Candidate A claims that Candidate B cannot possibly be an advocate for the working people because he enjoys the opera more than professional wrestling
Avioding the real argument by making similar charges against the opponent
Ex-How can the police ticket me for speeding? I see cops speeding all the time
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
Logical Fallacies Examples
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
Latin roots 1
Preterite vs Imperfect Rules
Latin and Greek Roots, M
OTHER QUIZLET SETS
Ch. 6 Neoplasia