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Copy of Rhetorical Fallacies
Transcript of Copy of Rhetorical Fallacies
Emotional fallacies [pathos]
Ethical fallacies [ethos]
Logical fallacies [logos]
Give a link to each example with 1¶ (each) explaining why it is an example of that fallacy.
asserting that, if hypothetically X had occurred, Y would have been the result.
You owe me part of your increased salary. If I hadn't taught you how to recognize logical fallacies, you would be
at McDonald's for minimum
wages right now instead of
taking in hundreds of thousands
of dollars as a lawyer.
a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim.
Giving up our nuclear arsenal in the 1980's weakened the United States' military. Giving up nuclear weaponry also weakened China in the 1990s. For this reason, it is wrong to try to outlaw pistols and rifles in the United States today.
confuse chronology with causation: one event can occur after another without being caused by it.
A black cat crossed my path at noon.
An hour later, my mother had a
Because the first event occurred earlier,
it must have caused the bad luck later.
create an unnecessary desire for things.
Example: You need an expensive car or people won’t think you’re cool.
Slippery Slope arguments suggest that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with disastrous results.
If you get a B in high school, you won’t get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.
encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so.
Gay marriages are just immoral. 75% of Americans think so!
use of misleading or unrelated evidence
to support a conclusion.
I should not pay a fine for reckless driving. There are many other people on the street who are dangerous criminals and rapists, and the police should be chasing them, not harassing a decent tax-paying citizen like me.
Rhetorical fallacies, or fallacies of argument, don’t allow for the open,
exchange of ideas upon which meaningful conversations depend. Instead, they distract the reader with various appeals instead of using sound reasoning. They can be divided into three categories:
[pathos] unfairly appeal to the audience’s emotions.
[ethos] unreasonably advance the writer’s own authority or character.
[logos] depend upon faulty logic.
A rhetorical fallacy is an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy.
What is a
use of emotions to distract the audience from the facts.
The thousand of baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable energy source.
trying to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting unrealistically dire consequences.
If you don’t support the party’s tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.
reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action.
Either we go to war with Canada, or Canada will eventually grow in population and overwhelm the United States.
asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a writer 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.
We should abolish the death
penalty. Many respected people,
such as actor Brad Pitt,
have publicly stated their
opposition to it.
instead of Evidence
occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof.
Example: Trust me——
my best friend wouldn’t
Guilt by Association
calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s associates.
You think that 1+1=2. But, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, & Joseph Stalin
all believed that 1+1=2,
and you don’t want to
be associated with them,
phrasing a question or statement to imply another unproven statement is true without evidence or discussion.
Have you stopped taking drugs yet?
When did you stop beatng your wife?
compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa).
seatbelt laws are fascist.
attack a person’s character rather than that person’s reasoning.
Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises?
set up and often dismantle easily refutable arguments in order to misrepresent an opponent’s argument in order to defeat him or her.
A: We need to regulate access to handguns.
B: My opponent believes that we should ignore
the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the
Constitution, and a proponent of freedom.
draws conclusions from scanty evidence.
Larry failed Biology.
Curly failed Biology.
Moe failed Biology.
I therefore conclude that most students who take Biology will fail it.
(Latin: "It doesn't follow")
an attempt to support a statement by simply repeating the statement in different or stronger terms
Can a person quit smoking?
Of course — as long as he has
sufficient willpower and really
wants to quit.
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 out.
Likewise, more than two years of education is bad for a student.
Hypothesis Contrary to Fact
represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the issue.
Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and better pets.
a half-truth, or a statement that is partially correct but that purposefully obscures the entire truth.
Plato says the end of a thing is its perfection; I say that death is the end of life; hence, death is the perfection of life.
X = Z
Y = Z
X = Y
Write a 5-7 paragraph "campaign speech" (following the typical outline). You are running for student body president against a classmate
using as many rhetorical fallacies as possible, with a minimum of 3
You are writing this in a paragraph style (as
opposed to an outline) because, as you are using
rhetorical fallacies, you will highlight and label
what fallacies they are.
By next Tuesday (18th of November) you should have the 5-7¶s shared via Google Docs. During class on Tuesday (and probably the following class period), you will present your speech to the rest of the class.