Logical Fallacies

By: Peyton Goodwin & Whit Casper

Fallacies of Relevance

Ad Hominem- "How can you argue your case for vegetarianism when you are enjoying your steak"

This shows how sometimes a person can be verbally attacked instead of being directly addressed about his/her argument.

Red Herring- Mother: It's bedtime Lisa.

Lisa: Mom, how do cows feed their babies?

Mother: I don't know. Go to sleep now.

Lisa. But mom, do cow babies cry when they are hungry?

This conversation between a mother and her daughter shows how a child can be clever and try to distract her mother so that she could stay awake longer.

Faulty Analogy- Penguins are black and white. Some old TV shows are black and white. Therefore, some penguins are old TV shows.

Penguins are not old TV shows.

Non Sequitur- Mrs. Jones: Okay, it is eight o' clock; we have eaten dinner, and drank the soda....That's because we stay in the suburbs of France and because our name is Jones.

Mr. Jones: (continues reading his paper)

Mrs. Jones: Steak is good, the salad dressing was not rancid...However, I would rather not tell that that their dressing was bad.

Mr. Jones: (continues reading his paper)

Mrs. Jones: The dressing from the grocery store on the corner is great.

Mr. Jones: (continues to read his paper)

In this excerpt, this shows Non Sequitur because Mrs. Jones is talking to Mr. Jones and he does not respond and keeps reading his paper.

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

A person arbitrarily selected just one element of a multitude of possible causes for an effect.

Sentimental Appeals- Daughter: "Mom, can I get this puppy?"

Mom: "No."

Daughter: "But why not? Look how cute it is."

In this example, emotion is used to distract the mother.

Scare Tactics- Anti-drug TV commercial: "This is your brain. These are drugs. This is your brain on drugs."

This example was powerful, and its quest noble, but the argument presented in this commercial was invalid.

Fallacies of Accuracy

Straw Man Fallacy- People who think abortion should be banned have no respect for the rights of women. They treat them as nothing but baby-making machines. That's wrong. Women must have the right they choose.

This example misrepresents the position of the opposing side in such a way that the opposing position appears obviously false or ridiculous.

False Dilemma Fallacy- Senator Mary: "We'll have to cut education funding this year."

Senator Joe: "Hey, I never said that!"

Senator Mary: "Well, either we cut the social programs or we live with a huge deficit and we can't live with the deficit."

This example is fallacious because if both claims could be false, then it cannot be inferred that one is true because the other is false.

Faulty Casualty Fallacy- I stole the towel from the hotel. They expect people to take them.

In this example, an action is excused because the person has made it sound like it is okay.

Slippery Slope- Dad: Those look like bags under your eyes. Are you getting enough sleep?

Liz: I had a test and stayed up late studying.

Dad: You didn't take any of my drugs, did you?

Liz: Just caffeine in my coffee, like I always do.

Dad: Liz! You know what happens when people take drugs! Pretty soon caffeine won't be strong enough. Then you will take something stronger, maybe someone's diet pill. Then, something even stronger. Eventually, you will be doing cocaine. Then you will be a crack addict! So, don't drink that coffee.

In this example, the reasoning is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim.

Appeal to False Authority- Oprah says that is is bad to eat after 6 p.m. We shouldn't eat after 6 p.m. if she says so.

In this example. the reasoning is fallacious because the person in question is not an expert and is only relying on what someone has said.

Appeal to Ignorance- There is no evidence for the Loch Ness monster, therefore the Loch Ness monster does not exist

In this example, the fallacy occurs because the person argued that their conclusion must be true because there is no evidence against it.

Equivocation- Noisy children are a real headache. An aspirin will make a headache go away. Therefore, an aspirin will make noisy children go away.

The fallacy occurs because there is one word used with two different meanings.

Fallacy of Insufficiency

Hasty Generalization- Fred, the Australian stole my wallet. Thus, all Australians are thieves.

The fallacy in this example is true because the person has drawn a conclusion from one Australian and applied it to all Australians.

Begging the Question- I said "I am always right." Because I said it, it must be right.

Conclusion: I am always right.

The fallacy in this example is true because a premise in an argument has assumed the conclusion to be correct.

Bandwagon Appeals- Increasingly, people are coming to believe that Eastern religions help us to get in touch with our true inner being. Therefore, eastern religions help us to get in touch with out inner being.

This argument commits the Bandwagon Appeals fallacy because it appeals to the mere fact that an idea is fashionable as evidence that the idea is true.

Dogmatism- George W. Bush bought the election - period. End of story. There is no argument. You can try to come up with any argument you can, but there is none.

This is an example of dogmatism because the person states that he is right and every other opinion is wrong.