LOGICAL FALLACIES (20)

A. Fallacies of Distraction

1. Ad baculum (‘veiled threat’): L. "to the stick:"
Def- threatening an opponent if they won’t agree with you;
Ex- "If you don’t agree with me you’ll be sorry!"

2. Ad hominem (‘personal attack’; ‘poisoning the well’): L. "to the man;"
Def- attacking a person’s habits, personality, or reputation;
Ex- "His argument must be false because people say he’s a liar."

3. Ad ignorantium (‘appeal to ignorance’): L. “to ignorance”
Def- arguing that if something hasn’t been proved false, then it must be true;
Ex- "U.F.Os must exist, because no one can prove that they don’t."

4. Ad populum (‘popularity appeal’): L. "to the people"
Def- appealing to the emotions and/or prejudices of a group;
Ex- "Everyone believes in global warming so it must be true."

5. Bulverism: (named for C.S. Lewis’s imaginary character: Ezekiel Bulver)
Def- attacking a person’s identity (race/gender/religion);
Ex- "You only think that because you’re a (man/woman; Black/White;
     Catholic/Baptist; Democrat/Republican; Christian/Atheist; etc.)"

6. Chronological Snobbery (Ad annis: L. “to the years”)
Def- appealing to the age of something as proof or disproof of its truth;
Ex-"Sin and hell are so old-fashioned—how can you believe such antiquated
     ideas?  Today you should realize that you’ve got to believe in yourself.”

7. Ipse dixit  (‘false authority’): L. "He said it himself"
Def- appealing to an illegitimate authority;
Ex- "Global warming must be true because the Vice President said so."

8. Red herring (‘changing the subject’):
Def- diverting attention; changing the subject to avoid the point of the argument;
Ex- "You can’t accuse our public schools of failing.  That’s unpatriotic!"

9. Straw Man (‘misrepresentation’):
Def- misrepresenting the opponent's argument; exaggerating or oversimplifying
Ex- "Einstein's theory must be false!  It makes everything relative--even truth!" 

10. Tu quoque: L. "You also"
Def- defending yourself by attacking the opponent
Ex- "Who are you to condemn anyone?  Do you claim to be perfect?"

B. Fallacies of Ambiguity

1. Accent:
Def- confusing the argument by changing the emphasis in the sentence
Ex- “You said that you were IN FAVOR of the legislation!”  “No, I said
       I was in favor of legislation THAT WORKS!”

2. Amphiboly: [Gk. "to throw both ways"]
Def- confusing an argument by the grammar of the sentence;
Ex- "Croesus, you will destroy a great kingdom!" (your own!)

3. Composition:
Def- assuming that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole;
Ex- "Chlorine is a poison; sodium is a poison; so NaCl must be a poison too;"
     "Micro-evolution is true (change within species); so macro-evolution must be true
      too (abiogenesis [life arising from non-life] and transmutation of species]."

4. Division:
Def- assuming that what is true of whole must be true of the parts;
Ex- "The Lakers are a great team, so every player must be great too."

5. Equivocation:
Def- confusing the argument by using words with more than one definition;
Ex- "You are really hot on the computer, so you’d better go cool off."

C. Fallacies of Form

1. Apriorism (’hasty generalization’):
Def- leaping from one experience to a general conclusion;
Ex- "Willy was rude to me. Boys are so mean!"

2. Complex question (‘loaded question’):
Def- framing the question so as to force a single answer;
Ex- "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

3. Either/or (‘false dilemma’):
Def- limiting the possible answers to only two; oversimplification;
Ex- "If you think that, you must be either stupid or half-asleep."

4. Petitio principii (‘begging the question’; ‘circular reasoning’):
Def- assuming what must be proven;
Ex- "Rock music is better than classical music because classical music is not as good."

5. Post hoc ergo propter hoc (‘false cause’): "after this, therefore because of this;"
Def- assuming that a temporal sequence proves a causal relationship;
Ex- "I saw a great movie before my test; that must be why I did so well."