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15 Cards in this Set

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Hasty generalization
Making assumptions about a whole group or ranges of cases based on a sample that is inadequate (usually because it is atypical or just too small).
Missing the point
The premises of an argument do support a particular conclusion, but not the conclusion that the arguer actually draws.
Post hoc (false cause)
Assuming that because B comes after A, A caused B. Of course, sometimes one event really does cause another one that comes later. But sometimes two events that seem related in time aren't really related as cause and event. Correlation is not the same thing as causation.
Slippery slope
The arguer claims that a sort of chain reaction, usually ending in some dire consequence, will take place, but there's really not enough evidence for that assumption. The arguer asserts that if we take even one step onto the "slippery slope," we will end up sliding all the way to the bottom; he or she assumes that we can't stop halfway down the hill.
Weak analogy
If the two things that are being compared aren't really alike in the relevant respects, the analogy is a weak one, and the argument that relies on it commits the fallacy of weak analogy.
Appeal to authority
Often we add strength to our arguments by referring to respected sources or authorities and explaining their positions on the issues we're discussing. If, however, we try to get readers to agree with us simply by impressing them with a famous name or by appealing to a supposed authority who really isn't much of an expert, we commit the fallacy of appeal to authority.
Ad populum
The arguer takes advantage of the desire most people have to be liked and to fit in with others and uses that desire to try to get the audience to accept his or her argument. One of the most common versions is the bandwagon fallacy, in which the arguer tries to convince the audience to do or believe something because everyone else (supposedly) does.
Ad hominem and tu quoque
These fallacies focus our attention on people rather than on arguments or evidence. In both of these arguments, the conclusion is usually "You shouldn't believe So-and-So's argument." The reason for not believing So-and-So is either a bad person (ad hominem) or a hypocrite (tu quoque). In an ad hominem argument, the arguer attacks his or her opponent instead of the opponent's argument.
Appeal to pity
The appeal to pity takes place when an arguer tries to get people to accept a conclusion by making them feel sorry for someone.
Appeal to ignorance
In the appeal to ignorance, the arguer basically says, "Look, there's no conclusive evidence on the issue at hand. Therefore, you should accept my conclusion on this issue."
Straw man
One way of making our own arguments stronger is to anticipate and respond in advance to the arguments that an opponent might make. In the straw man fallacy, the arguer sets up a wimpy version of the opponent's position and tries to score points by knocking it down. But just as being able to knock down a straw man, or a scarecrow, isn't very impressive, defeating a watered-down version of your opponents' argument isn't very impressive either.
Red herring
Partway through an argument, the arguer goes off on a tangent, raising a side issue that distracts the audience from what's really at stake. Often, the arguer never returns to the original issue.
False dichotomy
In false dichotomy, the arguer sets up the situation so it looks like there are only two choices. The arguer then eliminates one of the choices, so it seems that we are left with only one option: the one the arguer wanted us to pick in the first place. But often there are really many different options, not just two, and if we thought about them all, we might not be so quick to pick the one the arguer recommends!
Begging the question
An argument that begs the question asks the reader to simply accept the conclusion without providing real evidence; the argument either relies on a premise that says the same thing as the conclusion (which you might hear referred as "being circular" or "circular reasoning"), or simply ignores an important (but quesitonable) assumption that the argument rests on. Sometimes people use the phrase "beg the question" as a sort of general criticism of arguments to mean that an arguer hasn't given very good reasons for a conclusion, but that's not the meaning we're going to discuss here.
Equivocation
Sliding between two or more different meanings of a single word or phrase that is important to the argument.