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12 Cards in this Set

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  • Back

Informal Fallacies

an error in reasoning not tied to an invalid argument

also called fallacies of irrelavance

Appeal to the Populace

attempt to win popular assent by arousing feelings of the multitude, appeal to a desire to be accepted by others

"Ms. Sanchez, are you saying that Pres. Bush made a moral error in invading Iraq? That's not how Americans feel, not true Americans anyway. You're a true American, aren't you Ms. Sanchez?"

Appeal to Pity (or Emotion)

attempt to support a conclusion by provoking pity in one's audience

Straw Man

fallacy where a misrepresentation of the opponents position is attacked (usually an extreme or weakened version of the position)

"Susan advocates for legalization of PCP, but I cannot agree with any position based on the assumption that PCP is good for you or a society of drug addicts can flourish"

Appeal to Ignorance

claim that a statement is true simply because it hasn't been proven false (or vice versa)

"No one has been able to prove that God exists. Therefore, God doesn't exist."

Question Begging

an argument which assumes the claim to be demonstrated (assumes the truth of what's at issue)

"Everyone must be allowed to speak his mind, otherwise freedom of speech might be violated."

"The defendant is not guilty of committing this crime, for she is innocent of having committed it."

Ad Hominem (argument against the person)

fallacy where the person who advances the position is attacked rather than the reasonableness of the position


occurs when 2 or more meanings of a word are used in a context where strength or validity only requires one meaning

"Only man(human) is rational, no woman is a man(male), therefore no woman is rational"

Appeal to an Inappropriate Authority

appeal to an authority, when the reliability of the authority may be reasonably doubted

-Car dealership owner talking about birth control

** Look at who the authority figure is VS. the issue they are discussing

Hasty Generalization

where one moves from a single case or a few cases to a generalization about all cases

"While driving to NU the other day, a woman in an SUV cut me off while on the 190. This was unsurprising, of course, because we all know that woman are lousy drivers."

False Dilemma

using a premise that unjustifiably reduces the number of alternatives

using "either"/"or"

False Cause

occurs when one possible cause of a phenomenon is taken to be a or the cause although reasons are lacking for excluding other causes

"Since being mayor, violent crime rate dropped. Therefore, longer prison sentences he put in place are working."