Common Logical Fallacies You Need To Be Aware Of
Ad hominem- When the arguer attacks his opponent rather than the argument (for example: He’s so dumb; you should never believe anything he says).
Appeal to ignorance- Appealing to ignorance as evidence for something’s existence or nonexistence (for example: No one has seen God, so he does not exist).
Argument from omniscience- When the arguer implies that he is omniscient, using generalizations like all or everything (for example: All French people drink wine).
Appeal to faith- Using faith rather than logic or evidence to support your argument (for example: Of course angels exist; you just need to have faith).
Appeal to tradition or bandwagon- Using tradition to support the validity of your argument (for example: Women have always been housewives, so they should stop trying to build careers).
Argument from authority- Arguing that because an alleged expert said something, it must be true (for example: Scientists at Harvard claim that chocolate is actually a health food, so let’s go get some dessert).
Appeal to closure- The fallacy that an argument must be accepted in order for arguers to finally reach closure on the topic and settle it once and for all (for example: If we don’t decide on something, we are going to keep at this all day).
Appeal to heaven — Asserting that as God supports one’s point of view, no further justification is necessary (for example: The Bible says that man has dominion over animals, so eating meat is okay).
Appeal to pity — Urging the audience to side with the underdog regardless of the issue at hand (for example: We should feed all of the stray kittens because they are so cute and the outside world is so harsh).
Argument from consequences- Arguing that something simply cannot be true because if it were true, its consequences would be unacceptable (for example: Doctor, you must be wrong; my leg cannot be broken because if my leg were broken, I wouldn’t be able to play soccer and I have a game tomorrow).
Argument from ignorance- Arguing that because we don’t know whether a claim is true or false, it must be one or the other (for example: I cannot figure out why all of my photos were deleted; you must have been going through my camera).
Argument from inertia — Believing that it is necessary to continue on a course of action even after finding out that one was mistaken because changing course would mean admitting that one’s decision was wrong.
Argument from motives — Attacking an arguer’s motives for making a claim, rather than attacking the claim itself (for example: We cannot believe anything the Congressmen say; they just want to build their own personal wealth).
Argument from the Club — Persuading by force, threats, or violence (for example: If you don’t give me your lunch money, I will beat you up).
Argument from silence — The fallacy that if someone says nothing about a subject, this in itself proves something about the truth of the matter (for example: If you don’t tell me where you were last night, you must have been doing something wrong with your friends).
Bandwagon- Arguing that because everyone does or thinks something, it must be right (for example: Everyone knows that men are better than women).
Begging the question — Arguing that something is true by repeating the same ideas in different words.
Big lie technique — The fallacy of repeating a lie or half-truth over and over again until people believe it.
Blind loyalty — The fallacy that an argument is right solely because a respected source or leader, such as team, country, expert, or boss, says it’s right (for example: I did shoot the Jews, but I was just following orders).
Blood is thicker than water — When an argument is regarded as true because one knows/likes/is related to the individual involved (for example: My sister said she’s observed that you are a lazy worker, and I always trust her opinions, so I have to fire you).
Complex question- Demanding a direct answer to a question that cannot be answered without first analyzing or challenging the basis of the question itself (for example: Just answer me, yes or no).
False dilemma — A fallacy that offers only two possible alternatives even though there are more alternatives available (for example: You’re either for us, or against us).
Noble effort- The fallacy that something must be true because someone has put so much effort and sacrifice into it (for example: But I’ve already been working on my PhD dissertation for three years; so, my thesis cannot be wrong).
Equivocation- Deliberately failing to define one’s terms to keep things fuzzy.
Cause and effect- Assuming that the effect is related to a cause just because the events happen at the same time (for example: When the turtles are on shore, the tide goes down; therefore, the turtles leaving the ocean causes the tide to go down).
Fallacy of composition- Assuming that what’s true of the part is also true for the whole (for example: You love the color pink, so your family must also love it).
Fallacy of division- Assuming that what is true of the whole is also true for the parts (for example: The car is pink; therefore, its motor must also be pink).
Genetic fallacy- Attempting to support or reject a claim because of its origin or history (for example: You shouldn’t buy Volkswagen cars because the Nazi regime developed them).
Guilt by association- Rejecting an argument because the person proposing it likes someone whom is disliked by another (for example: Your friend is in jail, so why should I trust you).
Poisoning the well- Presenting negative information about a person before they even speak in an attempt to discredit their argument (for example: She always thinks she is right; let’s hear what she has to say).
Red herring- Introducing a topic not related to the one at hand in hopes of distracting your opponent (for example: I know I forgot to do the dishes but last week, I cleaned the house and did all the laundry; don’t you appreciate anything).
Special pleading — Applying standards to others that are different from the ones you apply to yourself (for example: I don’t have to do any chores because I am older than you).
Straw man argument- Producing an argument about a weaker representation of the truth and attacking it (for example: Evolution can be true, because we know that humans did not evolve from monkeys).
Hasty generalization- Generalizing based on a sample that is too small (for example: All Americans are friendly; actually, you may have only met two Americans, and they both happened to be friendly).
Faulty cause and effect- Attributing the wrong cause to the effect (for example: She is quiet in class because she doesn’t understand what the professor is saying; actually, she could just be tired).
Slippery slope- Exaggerating consequences (for example: She is late for class, which means she doesn’t care about school, which means she will get a bad grade on her next exam; actually, maybe she does care about school and was late for an unrelated reason and maybe she will do well on her next exam).
Non sequitar- When the claim is not aligned with previous premises or evidence (for example: Since they are so rich, they must live in a fancy mansion; actually, they may just live in a regular house).