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The Center for Academic Excellence Presents... Logical and Emotional Fallacies Recognizing and Avoiding Untruth ≠

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Presentation on theme: "The Center for Academic Excellence Presents... Logical and Emotional Fallacies Recognizing and Avoiding Untruth ≠"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Center for Academic Excellence Presents... Logical and Emotional Fallacies Recognizing and Avoiding Untruth ≠

2 Logical and Emotional Fallacies Fallacies are false or deceptive arguments that may seem persuasive but which do not withstand analysis. Those who make fallacious arguments are not necessarily trying to deceive, because fallacies are superficially convincing—however, they are ultimately illogical. Academics have a responsibility to expose and to avoid fallacious reasoning.

3 1.Ad Hominem FallacyAd Hominem Fallacy 2.Bandwagon FallacyBandwagon Fallacy 3.Begging the QuestionBegging the Question 4.Biased LanguageBiased Language 5.Deus Vult FallacyDeus Vult Fallacy 6.Either... or... FallacyEither... or... Fallacy 7.EquivocationEquivocation 8.False AnalogyFalse Analogy 9.Faulty PremiseFaulty Premise 10.Half Truth FallacyHalf Truth Fallacy 11.Hasty GeneralizationHasty Generalization 12.Noble Effort FallacyNoble Effort Fallacy 13.Non Sequitur FallacyNon Sequitur Fallacy 14.Post Hoc FallacyPost Hoc Fallacy 15.Questionable Authority FallacyQuestionable Authority Fallacy 16.Red Herring FallacyRed Herring Fallacy 17.Slippery Slope FallacySlippery Slope Fallacy 18.StereotypingStereotyping 19.Straw Man FallacyStraw Man Fallacy 20.Tu Quoque FallacyTu Quoque Fallacy Table of Contents

4 Ad Hominem Fallacy Against the Man Besmirching a person’s 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 Contents

5 Bandwagon Fallacy Might is Right – Preaching to the Choir The 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 Contents

6 Begging the Question Giving students condoms 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 don’t need to encourage sexual promiscuity. See also, Faulty Premise Return to Table of Contents

7 Biased Language Name-Calling Using 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 Contents

8 Deus Vult Appeal to Heaven Defending 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 Contents

9 Either... Or... Fallacy Over Simplification The assertion that only two choices exist, when the options are, in fact, several. Example: The war against terrorism is ineffective. Either we should increase our military presence in the middle east or pull out of the war altogether. Return to Table of Contents

10 Equivocation Concealing the Truth, Mincing Words Deliberately failing to define one’s terms, or using words differently from how they are generally understood. Example: Bill Clinton emphatically insisting that he “didn’t have sex with that woman,” when the public took that to mean sexual contact of any sort, but where he meant penetration. Return to Table of Contents

11 False Analogy Comparing Apples With Oranges Making 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 Contents

12 A syllogism, elements of which are questionable. Example: Women are bad drivers. Marcy is a woman. Marcy is a bad driver. Faulty Premise Return to Table of Contents

13 Half Truth Card Stacking, Incomplete Information Telling convenient truths but deliberately leaving out important information, so as to paint a brighter picture. Example: A prominent local university’s billboard claims that “Ninety percent of our faculty have the highest degree in their field,” but fails to point out that this refers only to the 267 full-time faculty members, and not to the 272 adjuncts who hold only masters’ degrees. Return to Table of Contents

14 Hasty Generalization Jumping to Conclusions A 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 Contents

15 Noble Effort “E” for Effort, Sob Story A 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 Contents

16 Non Sequitur Fallacy Literally, “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 Contents

17 Post Hoc Fallacy Faulty 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 Administration’s fiscal policies were effective. Return to Table of Contents

18 Questionable Authority False 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 Contents

19 Red Herring Fallacy Changing the Subject – Throwing Off the Scent Introducing 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 Contents

20 Slippery Slope Fallacy The Domino Effect Claiming 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 Contents

21 Stereotyping Tarring With the Same Brush A 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 Contents

22 Straw 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 can’t even punctuate a sentence, let alone conjugate his verbs correctly. He graduated from college with a “C” average, for God’s sake! Return to Table of Contents

23 Tu Quoque Two Wrongs Make a Right Defending 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 Contents

24 PowerPoint Presentation by Mark A. Spalding, BA, MEd, MA (2007) Artwork: Red Herring, by Kieran McGonnell

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