FALLACIES, FALLACIES AND MORE
              FALLACIES
I. Language Fallacies
A. Lexical ambiguity

1. Inappropriate use of ...
d) Faulty pronoun

2. Misuse of accent

II. Fallacies of Irrelevance
A. Hasty generalization
“All the people in this littl...
M. Genetic fallacy
“Medicare won’t work in this country because it is a Socialist plan.”

N. Poisoning the wells
“I wouldn...
S. Argumentum ad misericordiam
“We must give the new professor tenure. After all, he has six children to feed and clothe.”...
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Logical Fallacies

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one of my all-time favorite lists... and one that i can never find when i need it!

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Transcript of "Logical Fallacies"

  1. 1. FALLACIES, FALLACIES AND MORE FALLACIES I. Language Fallacies A. Lexical ambiguity 1. Inappropriate use of figurative language a) metaphors b) similes c) analogies d) symbols 2. Misuse of abstract words Words mean different things to different people. Many terms are troublesome, in that they can connote a large variety of meanings. 3. Hypostatization Reification of abstract words occurs when they are regarded as if they refer to real entities or forces. 4. Equivocation When the meaning of a word or expression is changed either knowingly or inadvertently during the course of a discussion, the result is equivocation. 5. Misuse of emotive words Two words may have the same general definition, but the emotions and attitudes that they reflect and produce can be vastly different. B. Structural Ambiguity 1. Amphiboly a) Dangling modifier -ing endings b) Squinting modifier only c) Elliptical construction Omission of the subject of a clause
  2. 2. d) Faulty pronoun 2. Misuse of accent II. Fallacies of Irrelevance A. Hasty generalization “All the people in this little town are Kardassian enemy soldiers. Let’s shoot them all.” B. Accident “Everyone ought to have freedom of speech. Therefore this man shouldn’t be persecuted just because he yelled ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. C. Division “He is a citizen of the United States of America, which is a democracy. Therefore he must have very democratic views.” D. Composition “Each of the actors is very good. Therefore the presence of each one of them in the new movie is a guarantee that it will be excellent.” E. Oversimplification “The trouble with our University system is that it really believes that God is dead.” F. Bifurcation (either-or fallacy) “Either we abandon the Klingon Empire or we renew aerial bombardment. But our promises of security to the Klingons make it impossible to leave it completely. Therefore, we must renew aerial bombardment.” G. Argument of the beard “There really is no such thing as a bad boy. Boys are in varying degrees maladjusted and cannot ever be considered really evil.” H. Extension “Well, if Darwin wanted to believe his ancestor was a monkey, that is his prerogative, but I know darn well my grandfather was never a monkey!” I. Special pleading “This administration must be condemned for raising tuition.” J. Lifting out of context “Dr. Morrision, in his recent report on marijuana addiction, has said, ‘There is evidence on the basis of cases studied that this drug is no more harmful than alcohol.’” K. Begging the question (petito principio) “There’s no question but that the deterioration in modern moral values is to be attributed to people’s inability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong.” L. Complex question “Exactly how did you feel when you murdered your wife, Mr. Simpson?”
  3. 3. M. Genetic fallacy “Medicare won’t work in this country because it is a Socialist plan.” N. Poisoning the wells “I wouldn’t pay any attention to Al’s statement that he heard someone walking in the house last night. He uses a hearing aid.” O. False cause 1. Non causa pro causa “I’m not surprised that he broke his leg today, since I saw a black cat walk in front of him.” 2. Post hoc ergo propter hoc “Simpson must have committed the murder because I saw him enter the house and immediately after that I heard Mrs. Simpson’s scream.” P. Diversion 1. Red herring “The President has recommended that Municipal Bonds be taxed. The Vice President disagrees with his view. I think the Vice President is very wrong to disagree with the President. A Vice President should support the position of the President and help him to achieve his goals.” 2. Pettifogging “The new museum is flawed. It is well designed and shows off its paintings very effectively. However, the bathroom is very inadequate and the lunchroom is small and very prosaic looking.” 3. Humor “One of the candidates running for the Mayor of New York stated that he believed in law and order and that he would do everything possible to make the streets safe so our wives could walk the streets at night. What, I ask you, does he want to do, make hookers out of our wives?” Q. Argumentum ad populum “Penn State is a very powerful and influential university. But as members of this university we want to make it the most influential in the world. We should therefore protect this university that we love by supporting every effort to increase alumni donations for the new basketball arena.” R. Argumentum ad hominum 1. Abusive “Of course, Mr. Smiles is against birth control; he has ten children and doesn’t know any better. He’s one of the ignorant ones.” 2. Circumstantial “Priest: I do not believe that the state should provide public aid to private schools. Congressman: But you are Catholic and your schools need money, and certainly your religion requires you to support the bill for financial aid to Catholic schools.” 3. Tu quoque (‘you’re another’) “Student #1: I saw you copying the answer to the exam question from your biology book. Student #2: At least it was my book. Didn’t you borrow Fred’s term paper and hand it in as your own?”
  4. 4. S. Argumentum ad misericordiam “We must give the new professor tenure. After all, he has six children to feed and clothe.” T. Argumentum ad baculum “Professor Allen told his students, ‘There’s no official rule about cutting classes, but I will always call the roll. I want to know how many times you have been absent when I give you your final grade.” U. Argumentum ad verecundiam “I think our current concept for evaluation of professors is great. After all, both Dr. B’s approved of it.” V. Argumentum ad ignoratiam “You may not believe in ghosts, but tell me, has anyone ever been able to prove definitely that they do not exist?”

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