Logical Fallacies

Accident fallacy (dicto simplicter)

A general rule is treated as universally true unless it can be proved otherwise
Ex: Exercise is good, therefore everyone should exercise

Ad hominem

Attack the person rather than the claim (the Latin translates as "to the man," so you address the argument to the person rather than their claim)
Ex: "You wouldn't understand since you never had to struggle

Appeal to doubtful authority

- Claim ethos or credibility of a source that has none.
- When one uses ideas or concepts of an inexperienced person to support one's argument
Ex: "Oprah says that the best kitchen appliances come from kitchen aid

Appeal to ignorance (or Argument from ignorance)

When someone claims that a conclusion must be true even if it hasn't been proven false, or false hasn't been proven true
Ex: "You can't prove that you are innocent, therefore you are guilty to me

Appeal to pity (ad misericordiam)

Using emotional appeals to convince that the conclusion of an argument is true, instead of using relevant facts and logic
Ex: "Santa claus must be a real person, it would be so sad if he wasn't

Bandwagon (ad populum)

- appeal to popularity
- Occurs when one assumes that something must be true or good based on the fact that it is popular
Ex: Most people believe that there is a god, so it must be true

Begging the question (circular reasoning)

Occurs when the conclusion is assumed to be true in the arguments premises
Ex: "Murder is always morally wrong, therefore abortion is morally wrong


- Argument of absolute; only one side exists
- The tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others
Ex: "I believe that women should stay at home and raise children or else our moral val


- Deliberately misconstruing two words, creating ambiguity/ bc it sounds like another word
- Deliberately misconstruing two words, creating ambiguity
Ex: "Taxes are a true headache, pain killers will make a headache go away, therefore, pain killers will m

Fallacy of composition

Reasoning that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole
Ex: "This basketball team has five all stars in it's starting line up, they'll be sure to win

False analogy

- Unfair comparison between two unlike things
- Making inferences based on an analogy that is too different from the argument
Ex: "Cars cause many more deaths than firearms do, so if we are going to ban firearms, we should also ban cars

False dilemma (either/or fallacy)

Occurs when a limited number of choices or outcomes or views are presented as the only options, when more exist
Ex: "You are either with us, or against us

Hasty generalization

- Not enough evidence to support that conclusion
- Occurs when someone draws a conclusion based on just a small sample size, conclusion is supported by insufficient evidence
Ex: "My friend has been eating only hamburgers, pizza and fries for 10 years and

Non sequitur

Arguments don't follow a logical sequence. The conclusion does not logically follow the explanation.
Ex: "We know why it rained today; because I washed my car

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

- "After this therefore because of this." Assume causation where none exists
- Assuming that an event must have been the cause of alter event because it happened earlier
Ex: "The rooster crows before the sun rises, therefore the crowing rooster causes the

Red herring

- Purposefully diverting from the issue at hand
- To distract the audience from what they are searching for by bringing up something else unconnected to the logic of the argument
Ex: "You should take my side on the weight issue because I played basketball

Slippery slope

Occurs when someone argues without providing adequate evidence, that a certain action or proposition will lead to an undesirable outcome via a series of events
Ex: "People who drink coffee end up smoking, and smokers get lung cancer. Coffee causes lung ca

Straw man

- Deliberately distorting opposition's position to weaken it
- Occurs when someone distorts or misrepresents an argument to make it easier to defeat
Ex: "I believe sport hunting is immoral" "so you want everyone to be a vegetarian because animals are more

Tu quoque

Claiming that someone's argument must be false because it's not consistent with their past actions or words
Ex: "You don't actually believe that smoking is bad since you smoke too

Two wrongs

Defending something done wrong by citing another incident of wrongdoing
Ex: "America does not need to regulate pollution because china is producing way more pollution than we are