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Argumentative Fallacies

Updated 2007-04-20 07:39


Memorize terms describing various fallacies used in arguments.

Argumentative Fallacies

Question Answer
OvergeneralizationBroad Statement made on the basis of too little evidence, which overlooks important differences.
OversimplificationClaim may be accepted as true, but would probably be unacceptable due to its lack of complexity.
Self Evident ClaimsDo not (re)claim something that is so obvious that it contributes nothing to the argument
Begging the QuestionClaim is restated and passed off as evidence. Also known as circular reasoning.
Faulty ‘either/or’ ReasoningAlso known as a “false dilemma,” this fallacy arises from assuming that there are only two ways of looking at an issue.
Faulty Cause-Effect ReasoningAssumption that things that occur closely in time have a causal relationship. Correlation is not always causation.
False AnalogyLogical analogy that is extended beyond reason, which claims relationships that do not logically exist or that shows a false, logically untenable relationship.
Bandwagon AppealCommon emotional ploy that plays on the natural urge to belong to a group.
Red HerringAnything that draws attention from the main issue under discussion. Common in political campaigning and advertising.
The ClichéA phrase that has been so overused as to become commonplace and trite. The cliché is generally looked at as a crutch for a writer’s lack of originality and imagination.
Two Wrongs Make a RightA fallacy in which a person “justifies” an action against an opponent by asserting that the opposition would do the same thing to him or her.
Ad HominemAn attempt to divert attention away from the important aspects of an issue by engaging in personal attacks on the opposition.
PolarizationA blatant, unmediated attack on an opponent; an extremist viewpoint. Represents a complete breakdown in logos and ethos.
Fallacies of EmotionManipulation of emotions as a means of assertion; works through association.
Rhetorical QuestioningA question that requires no answer because the answer is self-evident; posing a question and immediately following it with the answer; posing a question simply for the sake of the question itself.
AlienationMode of discourse in which the reader is noticeably excluded from what is being said; using vocabulary, allusions, or levels of familiarity that are inappropriate for the multiple audience.

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