Errors of Rhetoric: Logical Fallacies

A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning.
Strong arguments are based on testable premises and logical relationships, whilst weak arguments – whether due to weak premises or to weak relationships – tend to use logical fallacies to appear stronger than they are or to appear to weaken an opposing argument. Most people inadvertently commit logical fallacies in presenting an argument, but regrettably they are often deliberately used by politicians, the media, salespeople, and others to manipulate and fool people, and by those in power and authority to deflect, denigrate, or dismiss criticism.
It is important to recognize these fallacies so that one can avoid letting a debate be hijacked and insist that it return to the actual issue under discussion.

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Black-or-White Syndrome  link | show index ]

Where two alternative states are presented as the only or exclusive possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist, both possibilities may co-exist, and/or neither may be valid.

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Enemy Narrative  link | show index ]

Casting the argument in the mold of a hero-villain story.

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Straw Man  link | show index ]

Misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

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Reduction to Absurdity  link | show index ]

Reductio ab Absurdum or Argumentum ab Absurdum.

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Slippery Slope  link | show index ]

Asserting that if we allow A to happen, then Z will consequently happen too, therefore A should not happen.

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Changing the Subject  link | show index ]

Avoiding engagement with an argument by creating a new one.

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Non Sequitur  link | show index ]

Excluding the Middle, leaping from a premise to conclusion without a valid intervening connection.

Ad Hominem  link | show index ]

Attacking your opponent’s character or personal traits, or simply name calling, in an attempt to thereby undermine or dismiss their argument.

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Genetic Fallacy  link | show index ]

Judging something good or bad on the basis of where or whom it comes from.

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Bandwagon  link | show index ]

Appealing to popularity or the fact that many people do or believe something as an attempted form of validation.

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Appeal to Emotion  link | show index ]

Manipulating an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument.

Also:  Argumentum ad Populum, appealing to group fears and prejudices, myths and ideals.

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Appeal to Authority  link | show index ]

Saying that because an authority says something, it must therefore be true.

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Appeal to Nature  link | show index ]

Making the argument that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good, or ideal.

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Special Pleading  link | show index ]

Moving the goalposts, or asserting exception or new conditions when a claim is shown to be false.

No True Scotsman  link | show index ]

Making an Appeal to Purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws of an argument.

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Tu Quoque  link | show index ]

Avoiding having to engage with criticism by turning it back on the accuser – answering criticism with criticism.

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Projection  link | show index ]

Assuming someone or something has the same characteristics as you and yours.

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Begging the Question  link | show index ]

A circular argument, in which the conclusion is included in the premise.

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Loaded Question  link | show index ]

Asking a question that has an assumption built into it so that it can’t be answered without appearing guilty.

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Nocebo  link | show index ]

Dismissing a claim by accusing the person making it of being manipulated by or suggestible to the agendas of others.

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Confirmation Bias  link | show index ]

Ignoring, dismissing, or wrongly interpreting, explaining, and recalling evidence to confirm or protect one’s beliefs and prejudices.

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False Cause  link | show index ]

Presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

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Texas Sharpshooter  link | show index ]

Cherry-picking data clusters to suit an argument, or finding a pattern to fit a presumption.

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Burden of Proof  link | show index ]

Saying that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove the claim.

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Anecdote  link | show index ]

Using personal experience or an isolated example instead of a valid argument, especially to dismiss statistics.

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Faulty Analogy  link | show index ]

Assuming that what’s true about one thing or a part of something is true about something similar or the whole.

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Personal Incredulity  link | show index ]

Saying that because one finds something difficult to understand, it’s therefore not true.

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Ambiguity  link | show index ]

Using double meanings, ambiguities of language, or equivocation, which weakens the conclusions or defies being pinned down.

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Doublethink  link | show index ]

Asserting that two conflicting ideas are the same.

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Middle Ground  link | show index ]

Saying that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.

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Gambler’s Fallacy  link | show index ]

Believing that ‘runs’ occur (or don’t occur) to statistically independent phenomena such as roulette wheel spins.

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Fallacy Fallacy  link | show index ]

Presuming a claim to be necessarily wrong because a fallacy has been committed in its the argument.

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[originally adapted from yourlogicalfallacyis.com]