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ENGL 1210 Chapter 9 Logical Fallacies ONLINE

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Diana Schirmer

on 9 July 2018

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Transcript of ENGL 1210 Chapter 9 Logical Fallacies ONLINE

Logical Fallacies
Pick out all the fallacies you can find from these few scenes

We’d Better watch The Office for More practice

EX: I don't think a Red Ryder BB rifle would make a good present for you. They are very dangerous and you'll put your eye out.

Appeal to Fear

EX: No one can prove that ghosts don’t exist, so that must mean they do.

EX: We don’t know whether holistic medicines actually help psychological disorders, so we might as well use them.

Appeal to Ignorance

Peter: "Based on the arguments I have presented, it is evident that it is morally wrong to use animals for food or clothing."

Bill: "But you are wearing a leather jacket and you have a roast beef sandwich in your hand! How can you say that using animals for food and clothing is wrong!"

Tu Quoque (pronounced tu-kwo-kwee)

EX: The nation's current lack of moral standards was caused by the poor example set by Bill Clinton when he was president.


EX: Can a person quit smoking? Sure, if they have the will to quit.

Begging the Question / Circular Argument

EX: I don’t care if Rover bit the neighbor boy 74 times in four days. He’s just being a puppy.

Special Pleading

You can use an analogy, but it should be logical
False Analogy, using an analogy that really doesn’t illustrate the point
Simplifying a situation

False Analogy

EX: I watched The Wire and all the drug dealers were black. All black people in Baltimore are drug dealers.
Or all drug dealers in Baltimore are black.

Hasty Generalization

EX: I didn’t win on any scratch off tickets until I started bringing a rabbit’s foot with to buy them. The rabbit’s foot brought me good luck.

EX: Video games were invented, and then Columbine happened. Obviously video games are making kids violent.

Post Hoc

The death penalty is racist against whites, said the guy on the KKK website.

EX: When Mr. Smith corrected me in class, what he really meant to say to me is ‘I hate you and all of your filthy opinions.’ He hates my guts.

Distorting the Facts

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  Therefore, a bird is worth more than President Bush.


Using one word or phrases in two different ways

Equivocation (Equal Voice)

EX: The sky is blue, so all the elements the make the sky must be blue too.

EX: Henrietta lives in a huge building, so her apartment must be huge.


There are many, many, many, many different types:

Fallacies of Ambiguity
Fallacies of Presumption
Fallacies of Relevance

Logical Fallacies

Vanquish your bar-fight opponent by pointing out his or her logical fallacies by name
Find fallacies in formal arguments and news articles
Critically think about your own logos for issues to ensure no fallacies exist
Watch The Office to is Fallacies

After Today You’ll Be Able To…

You like the taste of apple pie.
You like the taste of mustard.
Therefore, you’d like me to make you a mustard apple pie.

What’s wrong with this?

EX: Michael Jordan wears Hanes t-shirts. They must be good!

Or any celebrity selling anything
Appeal to Authority

EX: You said you preferred blue eyes on your online profile? Hitler liked blue eyes, you know, and look what happened there.

Shift attention from the validity of the argument to source or origin

Genetic Fallacy

Tu Quoque (TQ)
Genetic Fallacy
Poisoning the Well
Ad Hominem
Appeal to Ignorance
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to Fear

Fallacies of Relevance

Distracting the audience from the actual issue with an irrelevant one

Red Herring

Misrepresenting someone else's position so that it can be attacked more easily

They miss the point

Straw Man

SO COMMON it’s ridiculous
Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile theory

Slippery Slope

EX: Will President Obama ever become a legal citizen?

EX: I notice that you surf the Net a lot.  Do you enjoy all the pornography you find there?

Many Questions / Loaded Questions

Distorting the Facts
Post Hoc (Ergo Propter Hoc)
Many Questions
Hasty Generalization
The Slippery Slope
False Analogy
Straw Man
Special Pleading
Begging the Question
False Dichotomy
Red Herring

Fallacies of Presumption

The conclusion does not follow the premise

EX: My views on including horseradish in all pickled dishes has helped so many people. Thus, my view of pickling is better than Martha Stewart’s.

EX: Our detectives aren't able to solve the case, so a psychic will probably be able to solve it.


EX: Since you like peanut butter and you like spinach, you’ll love my new PB and S sandwich!


When the logic isn’t explicit or well explained

Fallacies of Ambiguity

What do we look for when we analyze and argument?


EX: Either you’re for gun control or you like to shoot people.

False Dichotomy

Artists often suffered from depression as adolescents.  So, if you want your child to be a great artist, don’t put them on Prozac
This new truck is made entirely of lightweight aluminum components, and is therefore very lightweight
Men receive more higher education than women. Therefore Dr. Jane Smart has less higher education than Mr. Bill Buffoon.
like so...
The important thing
recognize the gap in/faulty logic
Or like transferring numbers from one situation to another
EX: On average, women get paid 72 cents to men’s $1. So Ben makes $100,000 a year, and his colleague Jill must get paid $72,000.
When a conclusion is drawn about the whole based on its parts, and there is no connection

EX: Atoms of colorless. Cats are made of atoms, so cats must be colorless.
We could avoid this with a proper definition!

EX: All banks are beside rivers. Therefore, the financial institution where I deposit my money is beside a river.
A headline: Marijuana Party Launches Local Campaign
What is true of the whole must be true of its parts
What’s a nonsequitur?
Yup, that’s about it: something that does not connect or follow
When the author assumes the reader already agrees
Exactly like it sounds
Assuming A caused B because B followed A
Asking a question that leads others to believe that a previous question has been answered in a certain way

Kinda like Entrapment
Using too few instances or examples to induce a faulty conclusion

EX: My cousin Daryl lives in the South, and he’s never had a job. All Southerners are lazy.

EX: ISIS Muslims are killing people. Therefore Bob at work, who is a Muslim, wants to kill me.
Often based on stereotypes

Associated with Parade of Horrors Fallacies (scare tactics pathos); terrible consequences of traveling down a certain path
EX: Marijuana is the gateway drug.
EX: Once we start telling elementary schools what to eat in school lunches, then it’s only a matter of time before the government tells us what to eat at home. And that will lead to socialism and eventually Communism. (courtesy of my mom)

EX: The American Indian had to make way for Western civilization; after all, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
All snow is cold precipitation; this precipitation is cold; therefore, this precipitation is snow
Logical Reasoning Chains
I will never be able to take Greg Granite seriously as a TV commentator so long as he wears that ridiculous toupee.
The television station did one of those call-in polls and demonstrated that the referendum will pass with overwhelming support.
Since I got sick right after eating in that restaurant several times, I refuse to eat there again.
Types of arguing methods?
Appealing to emotions (good or bad)
If you don't talk to your kids about drugs, they won't know how to refuse when they're offered.
Is there anything better than giving a one-eyed dog a home?
Are false logic, or logical gaps in our reasoning
They happen to the best of us

Often when we haven’t reasoned things through
EX: To summarize Freud, he believed that it all boils down to sex.  Let me show you why Freud is therefore full of crap.

EX: If evolution were true, mothers would have 3 arms.
Excusing unpleasantness because of favoritism

Principles and standards don’t apply, or are demanded
EX: I’m a cop, so when I speed I don't break the law
The conclusion is implied in the premise
No advancing the argument

EX: I saw a ghostly figure so I must have seen a ghost.
Either/Or situation
Doesn’t consider other options
EX: Either I keep smoking, or I'll get fat. I don't want to get fat, so I better keep smoking.
Just like it sounds

Boiling down a complex issue into simplified terms
EX: Racial profiling Middle Easterners in airports will eliminate terrorist attacks
EX: I know your car isn't working right. But, if you weren’t so lazy and had gone to the grocery store yesterday, this wouldn’t be a problem.
The logic being used is not relevant to the actual argument
Turning an argument back on a person to avoid it
Discrediting an argument by pointing out a tainted origin
Poisoning the Well
Ad Hominem
Attach the person, not their argument
EX: I don’t know why Donald Trump is so successful. I mean, it’s clearly a toupee!
Using the lack of evidence as evidence
Relying on the authority of someone who has authority, but not on the issue
Threatening harm on the person to scare them into your logic

Scare tactic
try the worksheet / as homework
See clip from Guilt Trip
Ethos...see handout
Let's find Ethos, Pathos, Logos in
intended audience, assumptions, Thesis, Purpose, Methods
For Next Time...
Read Scratch Beginnings!
ID his audience, assumptions, purpose, thesis, methods
10. Appearances are Trustworthy
Full transcript