2Appeal toFearA non-rational persuasion designed to invoke fear by threatening the safety or happiness of ourselves or someone we love; often called scare tactics or appeal to force.“[If] God should let you go, you would immediately sink, and sinfully descend, and plunge into the bottomless gulf…The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.” Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”In this excerpt, Edwards is attempting to frighten his audience into submission to an “angry” God. By threatening both their safety and well-being, he is able to use this scare tactic to achieve his purpose.
3Burden of ProofIn general, it is up to the person making an argument to try to prove it. It's your job to prove me wrong when I make the assertion in question.“Why can't the religious believer simply put the burden on the skeptic, and ask him to justify his unbelief, with the underlying assumption that as between theism and atheism, it is the former that is obviously true and the latter that is obviously false?” Professor Ralph McInerny, “Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist”- Here Ralph McInerny tackles the ever-present battle between faith-based beliefs and non-faith-based beliefs. However, he says that the atheists, not the faith-following people, needed to prove themselves, thus shifting the burden of proof.
4Wishful ThinkingWishful thinking is, in some ways, a fallacy opposite to an appeal to indirect consequences. In wishful thinking, an extremely positive outcome, but one just as remote, is suggested in the hope that it will distract from the merits of the case at hand.“For a bowl of water give a goodly meal. For a kingly greeting bow thou down with zeal. For a simple penny pay thou back with gold. If they life be rescued, life do not withhold. Thus the words and actions of the wise regard. Every little service tenfold they reward. But the truly noble know all men as one, and return with gladness good for evil done.” GandhiHere, Gandhi is attempting to mask the aspects of hunger, poverty, or any other lacking, by saying that any decent and good action will receive goodness in return. This logic, while comforting, is wishful thinking.
5Two WrongsTwo wrongs make a right is similar to appeal to common practice. This faulty logic is based on the idea that it is acceptable to do something, not because other people are doing it, but because they are doing other things just as bad. It implies that the action or thought is wrong, but one can see why it would be falsely assumed acceptable due to the circumstances. Both actions are not supported by any idea other than retribution. In "two wrongs,” it's not just that other people are doing something wrong, but that they are doing it to you; and that seems to excuse what one would likely recognize as unacceptable.“Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet LetterHawthorne proceeds to explain about the man’s belief that he had been wrongfully treated, and therefore the evil that he wrongfully subjected people to was actually brought on by themselves.
6??Loaded QuestionA loaded question has a false presupposition and is loaded with a false statement. A loaded question is one in which cannot be directly answered without implying a falsehood. Especially found in “yes”/“no” questions.He sprang on her and sputtered, “Why didn’t you hit him back? Where’s your spirit? Do you think I’d a let him beat me?”“Do you call me a liar or a blindman!” he shouted.“Jedge not,” he shouted, “lest ye be not jedged!” The tinge of his face was a shade more purple than hers. “You!” he said. “You let him beat you any time he wants to and don’t do a thing but blubber a little and jump up and down!”“He nor nobody else has ever touched me,” she said, measuring off each word in a deadly flat tone. “Nobody’s ever put a hand on me and if anybody did, I’d kill him.”“And black is white,” the old man piped, “and night is day!”-Flannery O’Connor “A View of the Woods”- O’Connor presents a complicated situation in which the physical health of an individual is being questioned. In this situation, answering the question “Do you think I’d let him beat me” is loaded despite the answer; a “yes” answer would indicate doubt in the person’s pride, and a “no” answer would indicate a doubt in the person’s physical abilities.??
7Appeal to AuthorityAppeal to Authority might not originally be seen as a fallacy. Often arguments are based on the ideas or theories or simple statements of people in authoritative positions, those we consider experts. Thus, we do not look behind the statements; rather we accept them as fact. This fallacy is also known as an appeal to questionable authority.“…for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom…by lessening the number of popists among us.” -Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”- Swift refers to “a grave author” and “an eminent French physician” (being the same person) and continues to build his argument with the man’s statements. He does not supply any support other than this man’s statements, and therefore makes an Appeal to Authority because the argument is not founded.
8Appeal to PrejudiceA prejudice is a predisposition to judge groups of people or things either positively or negatively, even after the facts of a case indicate otherwise. By appealing to a prejudice in the listener, the person making the argument attempts to ensure a favorable reaction. Most often, such an appeal works on negative images, and extreme cases can be classified as so-called "hate speech.”“This international power structure is used to suppress masses of dark-skinned people all over the world and exploit them of their natural resources.” Malcolm X, February14, 1965 (taken from essay “Malcolm X, our revolutionary son and brother” by Patricia Robinson)Malcolm X is here trying to inspire affirmative and abrupt actions in response to his statements. Therefore, he adopts the appeal to prejudice logic, tapping into the emotions of the listener, presumably a black radical person, and instead of creating truth, displaying faulty logic.
9SpiteAppeal toAppeals to Spite, to hatred, and to indignation attempt to tap into the animus a person feels about an individual or group of people or things. They differ from appeal to prejudice in the sense that prejudice works on a pre-existing belief, which may be positive or negative, but spite can be elicited by the attempt at persuasion itself, and is always negative.“This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there not law for it? Truly, there is, both in the Scripture and the statutebook. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect, thank themselves if their own wives and daughters go astray!” The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne- Nathaniel Hawthorne is using Appeal to Spite here to show the emotions of the townspeople in The Scarlet Letter. This statement allows Hawthorne to explore the full extent to which the people’s hatred might grow against Hester and how it could grow even more when one man or woman was outspoken about her adultery, tapping into each person’s emotions.
10STRAW MANA fallacy that occurs when a person misrepresents another's view so as to easily discredit it. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally. The image that this fallacy conjures up is that of a person building a straw man just to knock it over. The author attacks an argument which is different from, and usually weaker than, the opposition's best argument.“We all want our families, our soldiers, our unions, our sports teams to be united toward clear, common goals. But is it not dangerous for a democratic populace weighing if and how to wage war to value unity above all else? It is all too easy to mandate patriotism, as the New York Board of Education did last week, bringing back the Pledge of Allegiance, as if that will stop the Osama Bin Ladens of the world.” Robert Schere, “A True Patriot Can Pose Hard Questions,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2000- Schere uses Straw Man to explain his point that unity will not stop terrorism, despite all the national pride it may create. He begins his passage by agreeing that all Americans would like unity and then proceeds to explain why unity is dangerous and why we, in fact, do not want unity.
11Indirect Consequences This type of fallacy centers around the claim that if we justify an action, then this will also justify some other actions, and these will not be desirable. The idea here is that the reasoning which justifies one action will also justify other actions, ones which will be detrimental or undesirable.“The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.” Edsgar Dijkstra, mathematician- In this short comment, Dijkstra provides us with his opinion that the use of COBOL should be a criminal offense. However, he bases this on the justification of another argument, where it is justified to not use COBOL due to its harmful effects on the mind. This is a clear use of Indirect Consequences.
12Part for the WholeA part-whole relationship indicates that one or more object is part of another object.The problem is that non-equivalent terms have been substituted. Substituting the parts for the whole is sometimes called the fallacy of division.“This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep – and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining.” Animal Farm, George OrwellIn this excerpt Orwell attempts to show that the one singular farm will encompass all of the characters’ happiness and wishes--thus substituting part for the whole.
13Whole for the partsSubstituting the whole for its parts is sometimes called the fallacy of composition. It is trying to say that the part is as important as the whole, which is fallacious.“He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.” -Animal Farm, George OrwellThis quote states that each of the individual parts of Sugarcandy Mountain is just as important as the entire mountain, mainly the idea of happiness after death.
14False CompromiseThe fallacy of false compromise usually occurs when we do not know or care much about the terms of the debate.Without looking at the arguments being made, we can never rule out the possibility that one side is completely right, and the other side is completely wrong.Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. Jones, whom they referred to as “Master,” or made elementary remarks such as “Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death”…the pigs had great difficulty in making them see that this was contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The stupidest questions of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question she asked Snowball was: “Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?”… “And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?” asked Mollie. “Comrade,” said Snowball, “…Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?” Mollie agreed, but she did not sound very convinced Animal Farm, George OrwellIn this example, Mollie is portrayed as being quite indifferent to the rebellion, which is the main point of discussion and more worried about her everyday luxuries.
15False EquityThe fallacy of false equity can be committed either by someone making an argument, or someone analyzing one. While it is often a good strategy to cover both sides of an argument, such a strategy is never a necessary requirement of a good argument; and we also should not be swayed by someone simply because he or she does cover both sides.“There is little shame in the Democratic Party these days when it comes to fund-raising. Last year Democratic candidates for the Senate received more in soft money contributions than Republicans. Soft money is the worst, but by no means the only, kind of special-interest money allowed by the law. The interests that donate these hundreds of millions of dollars have the greatest influence over both parties.” Jim Shannon, “Democrats Fall Short on Shame,” Boston Globe- This excerpt cover both sides of the issue, but still conveys its original purpose which is to condemn the Democrats who received soft money.
16Common PracticeThe basic idea that people do something to support an action or practice. It is a fallacy because the mere fact that most people do something does not make it correct, moral, justified, or reasonable."In my time," said the grandmother, folding her thin veined fingers, "children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then.” –Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find”- In this excerpt, O’Connor shows the grandmother’s naivety and lack of knowledge about the modern society by basing one of her statements on common practice. The grandmother’s idea that all children in her day respected their native states and their parents is not founded, rather it is based on the fact that most children did so. This does not support the argument adequately, making it faulty.
17Appeal to Common Belief While surveys of common beliefs and popular opinions are a legitimate way to support some evaluative statements, they can never be used to argue the accuracy of most statements of verification. Using popular opinions to support a claim that must be verified in another manner is a fallacious appeal to common belief. Such fallacies are also called appeals to opinion, to belief, and to popular belief.“Had she been in any degree intellectual, he could have proved to here form early Christian history that no excess of virtue is justified, that a moderation of good produces likewise a moderation in evil, that if Anthony of Egypt had stayed at home and attended to his sister, no devils would have plagued him.”-Flannery O’Connor,“The Comforts of Home”- O’Connor uses the thoughts of a man pondering great thoughts of ancient times to exhibit Appeal to Common Belief. Through his statements about virtue, evil, and Anthony of Egypt, we see that they are fallaciously based on common belief or popular opinion, and are not validated, thus making them fallacious Appeals to Common Belief.
18Faulty DilemmaThis fallacy is committed when a person argues that there are only so many options, and you must choose between them, when in fact there are more options available. This fallacy is also called the “either/or fallacy.” because it looks like you have to choose either this, or that. A false dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or" conjunction and is often seen as treating a complex issue as if it has only two sides.And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” - John 9:2-3- In this excerpt from the Bible, a disciple presents Jesus with a question that has only two answers, the man or his parents. However, Jesus sees the faulty dilemma and contradicts it by presenting his statement and explaining why this faulty dilemma is fallacious.
19Establishing an unjustified link between cause and effect Establishing an unjustified link between cause and effect. The fallacious reasoning goes like this: one event happened soon after another event. Therefore, the first event caused the second one to occur."The only policy that effectively reduces public shootings is right-to-carry laws. Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crime. In the 31 states that have passed right-to-carry laws since the mid-1980s, the number of multiple-victim public shootings and other violent crimes has dropped dramatically. Murders fell by 7.65%, rapes by 5.2%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%." ("The Media Campaign Against Gun Ownership", The Phyllis Schlafly Report, Vol. 33, No. 11, June 2000.)- In this anti-gun ownership campaign, this article is presented, clearly representing post hoc. While certain crime numbers may have dropped and in those states right-to-carry laws had been implemented, there are no direct correlation between the two fact. However, this is the fallacious reasoning of the passage.PostHoc
20HastyGeneralizationIn a hasty generalization, the size of the sample is too small to support the conclusion, thus the statement is not supported enough.“Of course your columnist Michele Slatalla was joking when she wrote about needing to talk with her fifty-eight year old mother about going to a nursing home. While I admire Slatalla’s concern for her parents and agree that as one approaches 60 it is wise to make some long-term plans, I hardly think that 58 is the right age at which to talk about a retirement home unless there are some serious health concerns. In this era when people are living to health and ripe old age, Slatalla is jumping the gun. My 85-year old mother power walks two miles each day, drives her car (safely), climbs stairs, does crosswords, reads the daily paper, and can probably beat Slatalla at almost anything.” Nancy Edwards, “Letters to the Editor”, Time, June 26, 2000- The author of this passage makes all her assumptions about the elderly on her mother, who is apparently a remarkable woman. By basing her opinions on her mother, Edwards proceeds to make a hasty generalization about the elderly population.
21Ad hominemAnother fallacy is called ad hominem meaning argument to the man. This fallacy is committed when instead of dealing with what a person is arguing, one argues that the person is lacking in character. The reason that this is fallacious is that a persons character has no bearing on the truth or falsehood of truth claims.“For John came neither eating nor drinking and they say he has a demon; the son of man came eating and drinking and they say behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” -Matthew 11:18-19- Throughout the gospel, Jesus is attacked by the Pharisees and the Sadducees who were looking to discredit Jesus. In this passage, he rebukes their ad hominem arguments, pointing to the stubborn nature of that generation, (they would not be pleased with either John or Jesus), but he making the point that while they may attend to demean his character they will be proved wrong and Jesus will be proved right by his actions.
22Sweeping Generalization Making a generalization that cannot be supported no matter how much evidence is supplied, usually done using absolute statements or stereotypes. Applying a generalization that is usually true to an exceptional case by ignoring the peculiarities of the case.“Mercy on us, goodwife,” exclaimed a man in the crowd, “is there no virtue in woman, save what springs from a wholesome fear of the gallows?” The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne- Hawthorne uses sweeping generalization in this example to show the thoughts of the crowd, particularly one man. His words create a sweeping generalization about women, by saying that women have no virtue unless they fear death. This is the type of generalized statement that cannot be proven true.
23Appeal to VanityAlso known as apple-polishing, the strategy behind this fallacy is to create a predisposition toward agreement by paying compliments. The success of the strategy depends on a combination of the vanity of the target and the subtlety of the compliment, and it is usually more effect when the compliment is somehow related to the issue at hand.“Listen," the grandmother almost screamed, "I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!“"Yes mam," he said, "finest people in the world." When he smiled he showed a row of strong white teeth. "God never made a finer woman than my mother and my daddy's heart was pure gold," he said Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find”- The grandmother in this situation is practicing Appeal to Vanity. She fears for her safety and health, and thus begins to compliment the man who is threatening her, hoping that she can win him over rather than facing death.
24Appeal to PityA fallacious appeal to pity, also known as a sob story, is different from a simple (and perfectly legitimate) appeal to pity because it is used to replace logic, rather than to support it. When the fallacy does occur, it is usually exhibits either a greatly exaggerated problem or an inappropriate request. Mainly, a fallacious appeal to pity uses emotion in place of reason to persuade."You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you?" the grandmother said and removed a clean handkerchief from her cuff and began to slap at her eyes with it Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find”Once again, O’Connor uses the character of the grandmother to use fallacious logic. Here, the grandmother attempts to use the emotions of herself as a woman and the emotions that the man might feel about a woman and exaggerates them, desperately trying to get out of her situation.
25Appeal to LoyaltyAppeal to Loyalty is based on the idea that one should act with the group's best interests, regardless of the merits of the particular case being argued. A version of appeal to loyalty is the fallacious use of peer pressure. In this case, one's agreement is sought, not on the basis of what is good for the group as in appeal to loyalty, but on the basis of what others in that group would or do think."Listen," he said. I never asked much of you. I taken you and raised you and saved you from ass in town and now all I'm asking in return is when I die to get me in the ground where the death belong and set up a cross over me to show I'm there. That's all in the world I'm asking you to do."- Flannery O'Connor (You Can't Be Any Poorer Than Dead)- In this passage, O’Connor character uses Appeal to Loyalty in an attempt to persuade someone to do them a favor. The man pleads with the other character, basing his opinion on what he believes is best for him (and therefore, best for the group). Thus his argument is an Appeal to Loyalty rather than a logical argument.
26Circular reasoning is arguing an argument with the conclusion that is to be drawn from the argument, or the conclusion of an argument if, explicitly or implicitly, used as a reason for itself.When I asserted that the YAHOOS were the only governing animals in my country , us, and what was their employment?” I told him, “we had great numbers; that in summer they grazed in the fields, and in winter were kept in houses with hay and oats, where YAHOO servants were employed to rub their skins smooth, comb their manes, pick their feet, serve them with food, and make their beds. “I understand you well, “said my master: “it is now very plain,from all you have spoken, that whatever share of reason the YAHOOS pretend to, the HOUYHNMS are your masters; I heartily wish our YAHOOS would be so tractable.” Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels- In this excerpt from Swift’s work, we find this passage of circular reasoning. The man whom the narrator is speaking to actually proves the narrator’s point through circular reasoning, for he uses the conclusion of the speaker’s argument to found his own points, only further proving the validity of the narrator’s statements.CircularReasoning