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Copy of Rhetorical Fallacies

Strengthen your argument by identifying its weaknesses.

Jennie Hanna

on 8 December 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Rhetorical Fallacies

What is a rhetorical fallacy?

A fallacy is an error in reasoning.
When someone attempts to persuade another
using faulty reasoning, that is a rheotical fallacy.
An argument should be like a two-way street - an open exchange of ideas. Fallacies in argument (AKA rhetorical fallacies) block such an exchange by distracting the audience with tacky appeals instead of sound reasoning.
can be divided into
Sentimental Appeals
use of emotions to distract the audience from the facts.
Example: Thousands of animals are killed in shelters everyday, so don't donate to the local animal shelter.
Red Herrings
Use of misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion.
Example: I should not pay a fine for reckless driving. The police should be chasing all of the criminals and rapists on the street rather than harassing tax-payers like me.
Scare Tactics
Trying to scare the audience into agreeing with you by threatening them or predicting serious consequences.
Example: If you don’t support the fire department, you and your might find them not helping you if your house is on fire.
encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so.
Example: Over 55% of Americans do not support equal rights, so it should not be a topic we discuss.
Slippery Slope
arguments suggest that one action will lead to another action, oftentimes with disastrous results.
Example: If you get to class late and miss the exam, you might fail the class, so therefore you will be a failure in life.
Either/Or Choices
Example: Either we go to war with Canada, or Canada will grow in population and overwhelm the US.
Ethical Fallacies
False Authority
Asks audiences to agree with the claim
based simply on his or her character or the authority of another person or institution who
may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion.
Example: We should abolish the death penalty. Many famous people, such as Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron, oppose the death penalty.
occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof.
Guilt by Association
calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s associates.
Example: You are a vegetarian, and so was Hitler; therefore, you are just like Hitler.
I can haz dogma?
Moral Equivalence
compares minor problems with much more serious
crimes (or vice versa).
Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are racist because they assume that only minorities choose not to wear seatbelts.
Ad Hominem
Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises?
Logical Fallacies
Hasty Generalization
draws conclusions from very little evidence or exposure.
Example: Moe, Larry, and Curly all failed Biology 101. Therefore, most students who take Bio 101 will fail it.
Faulty Causality
(Post Hoc)
arguments that confuse chronology with causation:
one event can occur after another without being
caused by it.
Example: I ate a hot Pocket before I took the ACT, and my score went up ten points! Hot Pockets make you smarter!
Non Sequitur
a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim.
Begging the Question
occurs when a writer simply restates the claim in a different way instead of answering the question
Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements.
Faulty Analogy
an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things.
Education is like cake:
A small amount tastes sweet, but eat too much, and your teeth will rot.
Likewise, more than two years of high school is bad for you.
Types of
readers by
using logical reasoning.
This appeal relies on strategic
use of claims, clarity in reasoning and
relevance of supporting evidence and facts.

384 BC – 322 BC – Greek philosopher, student of Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great
Along with Socrates and Plato, he's considered one of the greatest Philosophers of Western thought
He wrote on many different subjects, including rhetoric, which is the ability to persuade using available means.
He broke down the different types of rhetoric into three specific groups
Persuade by connecting with the reader's emotions. Appeal to a sense of beauty, idealism, nostalgia, empathy, imagination
or humor in order to make an emotional connections with them.

Persuade your reader through credibility.
Overall goal is to demonstrate you are fair,
honest, and open-minded to establish trust.
reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action.
Emotional Fallacies
Those who know how to use their words correctly can
make their readers do or believe just about anything.

Father of the Art of Persuasion
ethos, pathos, and logos.
while those who don't use them well just look foolish...
arguments attack a person’s character rather than that person’s reasoning, so the focus is not on what you do well, but what the other does bad.

(Latin for “It doesn’t follow”)
(Circular Reasoning)
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