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Terms in this set (22)
use emotion to distract the audience from the facts.
Example: The thousand of baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable energy source.
use misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion.
Example: That painting is worthless because I don't recognize the artist.
try to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting unrealistically
Example: If you don't support the party's tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.
encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so.
Example: Paris Hilton carries a small dog in her purse, so you should buy a hairless Chihuahua and put it in your Louis Vuitton.
arguments suggest that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with disastrous results.
Example: If you get a B in high school, you won't get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.
reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action.
Example: The patent office can either approve my generator design immediately or say goodbye forever to affordable energy.
arguments create an unnecessary desire for things.
Example: You need an expensive car or people won't think you're cool.
asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a writer based simply on his or her character or the
authority of another person or institution who may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion.
Example: My high school teacher said it, so it must be true.
Using Authority Instead of Evidence
occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof.
Example: Trust me - my best friend wouldn't do that.
Guilt by Association
calls someone's character into question by examining the character of that person's associates.
Example: Sara's friend Amy robbed a bank; therefore, Sara is a delinquent.
shuts down discussion by asserting that the writer's beliefs are the only acceptable ones.
Example: I'm sorry, but I think penguins are sea creatures and that's that.
compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa).
Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are fascist.
arguments attack a person's character rather than that person's reasoning.
Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises?
arguments set up and often dismantle easily refutable arguments in order to misrepresent an
opponent's argument in order to defeat him or her
Example: A: We need to regulate access to handguns.
B: My opponent believes that we should ignore the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the
United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the Constitution,
and a proponent of freedom.
draws conclusions from scanty evidence.
Example: I wouldn't eat at that restaurant—the only time I ate there, my entree was undercooked.
Faulty Causality (or Post Hoc) arguments
confuse chronology with causation: one event can occur after another without being caused by it.
Example: A year after the release of the violent shoot-'em-up video game Annihilator, incidents of school violence tripled—surely not a coincidence.
is a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it.
An important logical step may be missing in such a claim.
Example: If those protesters really loved their country, they wouldn't question the government.
is a half-truth, or a statement that is partially correct but that purposefully obscures the entire
Example: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." - President Bill Clinton
Begging the Question
occurs when a writer simply restates the claim in a different way; such an argument is
Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements.
is an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things.
Example: Letting prisoners out on early release is like absolving them of their crimes.
represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the issue.
Example: Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and more independent.
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