Logical Fallacies or Fallacies in Argumentation


There are different kinds of logical fallacies that people make in presenting their positions.  Below is a list of some of the major fallacies.  It is a good idea to be familiar with them so you can point them out in a discussion, thereby focusing the issues where they belong while exposing error.

It is true that during a debate on an issue, if you simply point out to your "opponent" a logical fallacy that he/she has just made, it generally gives you the upper hand.  But then, merely having the upper hand is not the goal: truth is.  Nevertheless, logical fallacies hide the truth, so pointing them out is very useful.

  1. Ad Hominem - Attacking the individual instead of the argument.
    1. Example:  You are so stupid your argument couldn't possibly be true.
    2. Example:  I figured that you couldn't possibly get it right, so I ignored your comment.
    3. Appeal to Force - Telling the hearer that something bad will happen to him if he does not accept the argument. 
      1. Example:  If you don't want to get beaten up, you will agree with what I say.
      2. Example:  Convert or die.
      3. Appeal to Pity - Urging the hearer to accept the argument based upon an appeal to emotions, sympathy, etc. 
        1. Example:  You owe me big time because I really stuck my neck out for you.
        2. Example:  Oh come on, I've been sick.  That's why I missed the deadline.
        3. Appeal to the Popular - Urging the hearer to accept a position because a majority of people hold to it.
          1. Example:  The majority of people like soda.  Therefore, soda is good.
          2. Example:  Everyone else is doing it.  Why shouldn't you?
          3. Appeal to Tradition - Trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time.
            1. Example:  This is the way we've always done it. Therefore, it is the right way.
            2. Example:  The Catholic church's tradition demonstrates that this doctrine is true.
            3. Begging the Question - Assuming the thing to be true that you are trying to prove.  It is circular.
              1. Example:  God exists because the Bible says so.  The Bible is inspired.  Therefore, we know that God exists.
              2. Example:  I am a good worker because Frank says so.  How can we trust Frank?  Simple:  I will vouch for him.
              3. Cause and Effect - Assuming that the effect is related to a cause because the events occur together.
                1. Example:  When the rooster crows, the sun rises.  Therefore, the rooster causes the sun to rise.
                2. Example:  When the fuel light goes on in my car, I soon run out of gas.  Therefore, the fuel light causes my car to run out of gas.
                3. Circular Argument - See Begging the Question
                4. Fallacy of Division - Assuming that what is true of the whole is true for the parts.
                  1. Example:  That car is blue.  Therefore, its engine is blue.
                  2. Example:  Your family is weird.  That means that you are weird too.
                  3. Fallacy of Equivocation - Using the same term in an argument in different places but the word has different meanings.
                    1. Example:  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  Therefore, a bird is worth more than President Bush.
                    2. Example:  Evolution states that one species can change into another.  We see that cars have evolved into different styles.  Therefore, since evolution is a fact in cars, it is true in species.
                    3. False Dilemma - Giving two choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible.
                    1. Example:  You either did knock the glass over or you did not.  Which is it? (Someone else could have knocked the glass over)
                    2. Example:  Do you still beat your wife?

Click HERE to continue reading