audience and logical fallacies

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Logical Fallacies:

Logical Fallacies Learning shouldn’t be this fun David Venditto, M.A.

False Dichotomy:

False Dichotomy This is presenting something as an either/or scenario when other options might be available. Example: “We can either allow people the right to bear arms, or allow hardened criminals to break into our homes unscathed.”

Ad Hominem:

Ad Hominem This is when more time is spent attacking an opponent than discussing the issue at hand. This happens frequently in political campaigns. Example: “The anti-abortionists are more concerned with imposing arbitrary moral standards on others, than the lives of these unborn children they supposedly care about.”

Non Sequitur:

Non Sequitur This is when a faulty cause/effect relationship is used, or when a conclusion is drawn that does not follow from the evidence presented. Example: “The man over at the bar is pretty built; he must be a good fighter” or “That girl graduated from Princeton, so she must be pretty intelligent.”

Hasty Generalization:

Hasty Generalization This is when a conclusion is drawn based on a non-representative sample, or insufficient data. Example: “Mr. Venditto is Italian and is kind of a jerk. All Italians must be jerks.” or “I hate President Bush; He’s from Texas, so I’d probably dislike everyone from Texas.”

Circular Reasoning:

Circular Reasoning This is a self- referential definition or explanation that uses the definition to define itself. These are inadequate explanations that shed no new light on the issue being discussed. Example: “Newspapers are generally untrustworthy; I read this in The New York Times last week.” or “Micturating can be described as engaging in the act of micturation.”

Red Herring:

Red Herring This is when someone tries to obscure the issue being discussed with irrelevant details that serve no purpose but to distract the reader. Example: “I work 60 hours a week to support my family, and I pay my taxes; you shouldn't arrest me just because I punched him in the face” (Seton Hall).

Slippery Slope:

Slippery Slope This is when an argument is carried too far, to the point where it becomes biased or obvious hyperbole. Example: “Gay marriage should be allowed. If the FMA is passed, then who knows what will follow. Soon, the government will taking away all sorts of personal liberties, and we will devolve into a totalitarian state.”

Post Hoc:

Post Hoc This is when a person assumes one thing caused another, just because they sequentially occurred after each other. Example: “I’m not normally superstitious; however, after I saw that black cat walk in front of my car, I had a flat tire.” or “A flood happened after the comet appeared; therefore, the comet caused the flood” (Seton Hall).

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