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44 Cards in this Set

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A defect in an argument that consists in something other than false premises alone

Non sequitur (it does not follow)

Two types of Fallicies are:

Informal Fallacy and Formal Fallacy

Formal Fallacy

Merely examining the form/ structure of an argument

Only occur in deductive arguments

Informal Fallacy

One that can be detected only by examining the content of the argument

Must know something about the content

Informal Fallacy Categories

1) Fallacies of Relevance

2) Fallacies of Weak induction

3) Fallacies of Presumption

4) Fallacies of Ambiguity

5) Fallacies of Grammatical Analogy

5 categories of informal fallacy

Fallacies of Relevance

Share the common characteristics that their premises are logically irrelevant to the conclusion. Yet the premises may appear to be psychologically relevant

Fallacy of Relevance: Strawman Fallacy

An arguer distorts an opponents argument for the purpose of more easily attacking it. By demolishing the distorted argument the arguer concludes he/she has also demolished the opponents real argument.


*Usually results in the exaggeration of the first persons argument to make it look more extreme than it really is*

Mr. Goldberg has argued against prayer in public schools. Obviously, Mr. Goldsberg advocates atheism. But atheism is what they used in Russia. Atheism leads to the suppression of all religions and the replacement of God by an omnipotent state. Is that what we want for this country? I hardly think so. Clearly, Mr. Goldsberg's argument is nonsense.

Fallacy of Relevance: Red Herring

When an arguer diverts the attention of the reader or listener by changing the subject to a different but sometimes related one. The arguer then draws a conclusion about the different issue or merely presuming some conclusion has been established

1) subtly change of topics without the reader/listener noticing.

2) distract the reader/listener with flashy, eye catching topics


Professor Conway complains of inadequate parking on campus. But did you know that last year Conway had a love affair with a member of the English Department? Even the students got an eyeful, Enough said about Conway.

Fallacy of Relevance: Missing the point (Ignoratio Elenchi)

Occurs when the premises of an argument support one particular conclusion, but then a different conclusion often related to the correct conclusion is drawn


Crimes of theft and robbery have been increasing at tan alarming rate lately. The conclusion is obvious: We must reinstate the death penalty immediately.

Ad Hominem

Occurs when the 2nd arguer disregards the 1st persons argument and turns the attention toward the 1st arguer himself/ herself

Always has arguers

3 Forms of Ad Hominem

1) Ad Hominem Abusive

2) Ad Hominem Circumstantial

3) Tu quoique

Ad Hominem Abusive

The 2nd arguer responds to the 1st person's argument by verbally abusing them


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argues that Israel should hold the line on new settlements in Palestine. But Clinton is not Jewish, and she has never had any great affection for Israel. Thus, her arguments are worthless.

Ad Hominem Circumstantial

2nd arguer goes after the 1st person by alluding to certain circumstances that effect the opponent.

*Not to be taken seriously*

Tu Quoque

"You too" fallacy occurs when the 2nd arguer attempts to make the 1st arguer look hypocritical or arguing for bad faith.

Fallacy of Relevance: Appeal to the people (Ad Populum)

Uses human desires like love, admiration, esteem, value, recognition, and acceptance to get readers/listeners to accept a conclusion.

Appeal to the People: Bandwagon Argument

You want to be part of a team


Of course you want to brush with zing toothpaste, why 90% of America brushes with Zing

Appeal to the people: Appeal to Vanity

Someone who is admired, pursued or imitated, the idea being you too will be admired and pursued if you use the product.


The Few, The Proud, The Marines.

Appeal to the People: Appeal to Snobbery

Separating you from the masses and adding you to an elite class


Rolls Royce is not for everyone. If you qualify as one of the select few, this distinguished classic may be seen and driven at British Motor Cars, LTD.

Fallacies of Relevance: Appeal to Force

When an arguer poses a conclusion to another person and tells that person that if they don't accept the conclusion some harm will come to them.


Sesame Street is the best show on TV; and if you don't believe it, I'm going to call my big brother over here and he's going to beat you up.

Fallacy of Relevance: Appeal to pity

When an arguer attempts to support a conclusion by merely evoking pity from the reader or listener.

Your honor, I admit that I declared thirteen children as dependents on my tax return, even though I only have two. But if you find me guilty of tax evasion, my reputation, will be ruined. I'll probably lose my job, my poor wife will not be able to have the operation she desperately needs, and my kids will starve. Surely I am not guilty.

Fallacy of Relevance: Accident

Applies to cases where a general rule is mis attributed to a specific case.

One or more accidental features of the specific case make it an exception to the general rule.


Freedom of speech is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Therefore, John Q. Should not be arrested for his speech that invited the riot last week.

Fallacy Of Weak Induction

When the connection between the premises and the conclusion of an argument is not strong enough to support the conclusion.

Premises provide some evidence to support the conclusion, but not a sufficient amount to believe the conclusion.

Appeal To Authority (Ad Verecundiam)

When an argument from authority is made, however, the authority or witness cites lacks credibility.

1) Lacks the required expertise

2) Biased or prejudice

3) Motive to lie or provide "misinformation"

4) Lacks the required ability to perceive or recall

Appeal To Ignorance (Ad Ignorantiam)

When the premises state that nothing has been proved one way or another, and yet the conclusion makes a definitive claim about that thing.

*Usually involves something that can neither be proven or disproven.

Hasty Generalization

When there is a reasonable likelihood that the sample is not representative of the group.


Today's money managers are a pack of thieves, every last one of them. Look at Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford. They ripped off billions of dollars from thousands of trusting clients.

False Cause Fallacy

When the link between the premises and the conclusion rests on some imagined causal connection that probably does not exist.

Conclusion depends on the supposition that X causes Y, whereas X probably does not cause Y at all.

5 Varieties of False Cause

1) Post Hoc - "After this, therefore because of this"

2) Non causa Pro causa - "non-cause for cause

3) Oversimplified Cause

4) Gamblers Fallacy

5) Slippery Slope

False Cause: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Supposes that just because one event precedes another the first event causes the second.

*What causes what?*


Every time I wear my Dumervil Jersey the Broncos win. Therefore to ensure the Broncos continue to be victorious I should keep wearing my Dumervil Jersey.

False Cause: Non Causa Pro Causa- Non Cause For Cause

When what is taken to be the cause is not really the cause at all, and the mistake is based on more than the order events.


Napoleon became a great emperor, because he was short.

False Cause: Oversimplified Cause

When a multitude of causes is responsible for a certain effect but the arguer selects just one of these causes and represents it as if it were the sole cause.


The quality of education in our grade schools and high schools has been declining for years. Clearly, our teachers just aren't doing their jobs these days.

False Cause: Gambler's Fallacy

Whenever the conclusion of an argument depends on the idea that two independent events in a game of chance are causally related.


The ball has landed in a red slot the last 10 spins of the roulette wheel. Therefore, it is extremely likely that it will land in a red slot again.

False Cause: Slippery Slope

When the conclusion of an argument rests on an alleged chain reaction and there is not sufficient reason to think that the chain reaction will actually happen.

False Cause: Slippery Slope

When the conclusion of an argument rests on an alleged chain reaction and there is not sufficient reason to think that the chain reaction will actually happen.

Weak Analogy Fallacy

Committed when the Analogy is not strong enough to support the conclusion.

Fallacy Of Presumption

1) to suppose to be true without evidence

2) to take for granted

Fallacy Of Presumption: Begging the question
The actual support of the conclusion is not apparent, and so the argument is said to "Beg The Question".


Murder is morally wrong. This being the case, it follows that abortion is morally wrong.

Fallacy of Complex Question
when 2 or more questions are asked in the guise of a single question and a single answer is given to them both.


Have you stopped cheating on exams.

False Dichotomy

Committed when a disjunctive premise presents 2 unlikely alternatives as if they were only ones available, and the arguer then eliminates the undesirable alternative, leaving the desirable one as the conclusion.


Either you let me attend the Dixie Chicks concert or I'll be miserable for the rest of my life. I know you don't want me to be miserable for the rest of my life, so it follows that you will let me attend the concert

Suppressed Evidence

Committed when an inductive argument ignores an important piece of evidence.

1) ignore important information

2) ignore important events that have occurred with the passage of time

3) Quote passages out of context

Fallacy of Equivocation

When the conclusion of an argument depends on the fact that a word or phrase is used, either explicitly or implicitly, in two different senses in the argument.

Fallacy of Equivocation

When the conclusion of an argument depends on the fact that a word or phrase is used, either explicitly or implicitly, in two different senses in the argument.


Some triangles are obtuse. Whatever is obtuse is ignorant. Therefore, some triangles are ignorant.

Fallacy of Amphiboly

When the arguer misinterprets an ambiguous statement and then draws a conclusion based on the faulty interpretation.

John told Henry that he had made a mistake. It follows that John has at least the courage to admit his own mistakes.

Fallacy of Composition

When the conclusion of an argument depends on the incorrect attribution of a characteristic from the parts of something into the whole.


Each atom in this marker is invisible. Therefore, the marker is invisible.

Fallacy of Division

When the conclusion of an argument depends on the incorrect transference of an attribute from a whole into its parts.

This airplane was made in Denver, therefore all of the component parts were also made in Denver.