Logical and Emotional Fallacies
Ad Hominem FallacyAgainst the ManBesmirching a persons reputation by directly attacking his character.
Example: President Bush is a foul-mouthed drunkard who shirked his military responsibilities; he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.
Return to Table of Contents4Bandwagon FallacyMight is Right Preaching to the ChoirThe idea that because everyone thinks so, it must be right.
Example: Ninety percent of those polled oppose gay marriage; we, too, must stand up for the sanctity and preservation of traditional marriage.Return to Table of Contents5
Begging the QuestionGiving studentscondoms will make them promiscuous!A type of faulty premise, where the central premise is left unspoken.
Example: Condoms should not be distributed at schools. We dont need to encourage sexual promiscuity. See also, Faulty PremiseReturn to Table of Contents6Biased LanguageName-CallingUsing terms which unfairly label causes of which the speaker disapproves.
Example: Michael is a narrow-minded, Bible-thumping bigot whose opposition to abortion is as stupid as he is.
Return to Table of Contents7Deus VultAppeal to HeavenDefending a position because God or some higher power wills it so.
Example: A pro-life supporter shoots a worker at an abortion clinic, because the message it sends serves the greater good and is therefore pleasing to God.Return to Table of Contents8False AnalogyComparing Apples With OrangesMaking a false comparison.
Example: Homosexuality, like murder and child molestation, is a pleasure of the flesh. We all know that murder and molestation are wrong; why do we question whether homosexuality is wrong?
Return to Table of Contents11Hasty GeneralizationJumping to ConclusionsA conclusion based on insufficient evidence or oversimplification.
Example: Because the test scores at the local high school are poor this year, you conclude that all of the teachers are sub par and send your own children to another high school. This fallacy is often recognized by the use of such absolute qualifiers as all, every, none, never, and completely.Return to Table of Contents14Non Sequitur FallacyLiterally, it does not follow.
A false assumption, involving a missing claim that few would agree with.
Example: James speaks well; he would make a good politician.Return to Table of Contents16Post Hoc FallacyFaulty cause-and-effect reasoning.
Just because two events occur in close proximity does not mean that one is necessarily related to the other.
Example: After President Clinton took office, the economy stabilized. Obviously the Clinton Administrations fiscal policies were effective.Return to Table of Contents17Questionable AuthorityFalse Testimonial
Where support for a position or product is provided by a well-known or respected figure who is not an expert and who has probably been paid or otherwise rewarded for the endorsement.
Example: Because Olympic gold-medalist, Usain Bolt, promotes Nike shoes, they must be good (in spite of the $5,000 he was paid for the 30-second endorsement and his lifetime supply of free Nikes).Return to Table of Contents18Red Herring FallacyChanging the Subject Throwing Off the ScentIntroducing irrelevant issues, so as to avoid the real ones.
Example: When questioned on his voting record, a political candidate instead discusses the ways in which he has been unfairly represented by his opponent(s).Return to Table of Contents19Slippery Slope FallacyThe Domino EffectClaiming that inevitable consequences must proceed from a decision.
Example: If we allow gay marriage, we are opening the floodgates of evil. Will there ever be any end in sight? Next the bigamists will want their relationships recognized, and then the polygamists; and finally those involved in incestuous relationships. Before long, people will want to be married to their pets. We must stand in opposition to this rampant evil of our time!Return to Table of Contents20StereotypingTarring With the Same BrushA stereotype is a hasty generalization about a group or class of people.
Example: Because you have Chinese roommates in college who are slovenly, you conclude that all Chinese people must be just like them.Return to Table of Contents21Straw Man Fallacy
Misrepresenting opponents in oversimplified terms to discredit them.
Example: George Bush claims to be the Education President; in reality, he is a red neck who cant even punctuate a sentence, let alone conjugate his verbs correctly. He graduated from college with a C average, for Gods sake!Return to Table of Contents22Tu QuoqueTwo Wrongs Make a RightDefending an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that the accusers are guilty of the same or worse.
Example: A politician accused of neglecting senior citizens points out that seniors in neighboring states are much worse off than in his own.Return to Table of Contents23
PowerPoint Presentation by Mark A. Spalding, BA, MEd, MA (2007)Artwork: Red Herring, by Kieran McGonnellThe End