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Logical Fallacies in Argument

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John Kane

on 12 September 2017

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Transcript of Logical Fallacies in Argument

Logical Fallacies
Red Herring
reductio ad absurdum
translate to "reduced to the absurd", when an argument is reduced to an absurd conclusion in an attempt to prove the argument is therefore untrue
reductio ad hitlerum
But humans believe the gods to be born
And to have their own clothes, voice, and human form
But if oxen, horses, and lions could have hands
Or could draw with his hands and complete work as Man's
Then horses and oxen could draw pictures of gods
Like horses and oxen, and they would make the body
In such a fashion as each possesses
-Xenophanes, from Clement of Alexandria

this one is self explanatory...
Evidence, argument, tangents, attacks, etc. that is intended to be misleading or distracting
non sequitur
"it does not follow"
An argument in which the conclusion does not logically follow the premise

ad hominem
reductio ad hitlerum
ad populum/bandwagon
Logical Fallacy:

A flaw in the logical structure of an argument.

An error in reasoning.

Sometimes unintentional, sometimes intentional
The House Education Committee approved 9-5 the resolution that says the Legislature does "reject the core concepts of Darwinist ideology that certain races and classes of humans are inherently superior to others and does hereby condemn the extent to which these philosophies have been used to justify and approve racist practices." The resolution moves next to the full House for debate.
"Do you love me?"
"Don't you trust me?"
This is also known as a false dichotomy.
False analogy
claiming that because two situations share similar characteristics, their outcomes will be the same
non sequitur
strawman

Ad Hominem
"To the man" attack on a person's character when it is not relevant to the issue at hand or when it is meant to undermine their authority
Bandwagon often involves pressure to align with the majority, whereas ad populum argues that something is good because it is popular
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because simply assuming that the conclusion is true in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion.

Basically, the argument consists of "It is true because it is true, so therefore it is true"
Interviewer: "Your resume looks impressive but I need another reference."
Bill: "Jill can give me a good reference."
Interviewer: "Good. But how do I know that Jill is trustworthy?"
Bill: "Certainly. I can vouch for her."
Bandwagon
Argument / claim based on the actions of others in the absence of reason
Equivocation
Shifting the definition of a key term within an argument (usually an extended argument)

In our society, everyone needs to be literate. You would be surprised how many people in our society are so illiterate that they use the word “like” in every other sentence.

Nothing is better than steak. Hotdogs are better than nothing. Hotdogs are better than steak.

Slippery Slope
Assuming that one action will cause a series of undesirable and unavoidable consequences ("the domino effect")
If you fail the Toulmin Model quiz this week, then you will probably fail this class, flunk out of school, remain unemployed and become a burden to your society.
Loaded / Complex Question
Asking a question that has a presumption built into it so that the answer will incriminate the person answering the question.
The Texas Sharpshooter
Locating data to suit an existing presumption or conclusion.


This "false cause" fallacy is coined after a marksman shooting randomly at barns and then painting bulls-eye targets around the spot where the most bullet holes appear, making it appear as if he's a really good shot. Clusters naturally appear by chance, but don't necessarily indicate that there is a causal relationship.

Global warming should be less of a concern; world-wide CO2 emissions dropped in 2015.


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