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FALLACIES

From the reading Love is a Fallacy:

1. Dicto Simpliciter
- argument based on an unqualified generalization
- fallacy in which a general rule or observation is treated as universally true
regardless of the circumstances or the individuals concerned
- assuming that something true in general is true in every possible case

Example:
- “Exercise is good. Therefore everybody should exercise.” – not every
individual is prescribed to exercise regularly (i.e. individuals with heart
diseases)
- “There’s nothing I won’t do for my child.” – there are some things a parent will
not do for their child

2. Hasty Generalization
- drawing a broad conclusion from a small number of perhaps unrepresentative
cases
- few instances to support such a conclusion
- a fallacy in which a conclusion that is reached is not logically justified by
sufficient or unbiased evidence

Example:
- “Just because this one woman’s marriage worked, it does not mean that it will
work for everyone. As a matter of fact, probably it wouldn’t work for every
woman I know.”
- “Men are trash.”

3. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc


- assuming that because two things happened, the first one cause the second
one: “after this therefore because of this” assumption
- “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event
X.”

Example:
- “Looks like everyone who died drank water so drinking water must be killing
people.”
- “Brent must have been sad earlier. It’s raining again!”
- Superstitious beliefs
4. Contradictory Premises
- Involve an argument that draws conclusion from inconsistent or incompatible
premises
- a proposition is contradictory when it asserts and denies the same thing

Examples:

- “If God can do anything, can God make a stone so heavy even He can’t lift
it?”
- “What will happen if an irresistible force meets an immovable object?”

5. Argumentum Ad Misericordiam
- appeal to misery, sympathy or pity
- argument based on a strong appeal to the emotions which is highly
exaggerated or irrelevant to the issue at hand

Examples:
- “He should not be punished because he is just a little child.”
- “Brent should not be imprisoned for stealing because he did that for his dying
wife.”
- “Please hire me because I have eight mouths to feed.”

6. False Analogy
- analogies must have some sort of resemblance for a comparison to be made;
this fallacy fails to acknowledge differences
- error is about what the argument is about, not the argument itself i.e.
comparing apples and oranges

Examples:
- Guns are like hammers – they’re both tools with metal parts that could be
used to kill someone. And yet, it would be ridiculous to restrict the purchase of
hammers – so restrictions on purchasing guns are equally ridiculous.
- Using a computer without training is like driving a car without a license.

7. Hypothesis Contrary to Fact


- arguing from something that might have happened but did not
- offering a poorly supported claim about what might have happened in the past
or future if circumstances or conditions were different

Examples:

- “If Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo, we would all be speaking French
right now.”
- “If only you enrolled in Communication in college, you would be a successful
journalist now.”
8. Poisoning the Well
- commonly known as Argumentum Ad Hominem
- attacking the person instead of attacking his argument with the intention of
discrediting or ridiculing something that the target person is about to say
- occurs when negative information that is irrelevant is presented ahead of time
to discredit the argument

Examples:

- In a political campaign, candidate 2 presents negative information about


candidate 1 so that anything that candidate 1 says will be discounted or
discredited.
- Direct attack such as name-calling i.e. “You’re a liar!”

Additional fallacies discussed:

9. Argumentum Ad Populum
- appeal to popularity, commonly known as the bandwagon fallacy
- many people belief that premise A is true therefore, premise A is true
- the fact that large number of people believe or act some way is used
inappropriately as evidence that the belief or action is correct

Examples:
- “Most people think that Gatorade is better than Powerade, so Gatorade is the
superior sports beverage.”
- Spider-Man: Far From Home received a high Rotten Tomatoes rating, so it
must be the best film of 2019.

10. Argumentum Ad Baculum


- fallacy committed when one appeals to force or the threat of force about the
acceptance of a conclusion

Examples:
- “Accept this position or I’ll punish you.”
- “Agree with me or I will hit you.”

11. Argumentum Ad Ignoratiam


- appeal to ignorance
- fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been
proved false or that it is false because it has not been proved true

Examples:
- “There must be ghosts because no one has ever been able to prove that
there aren’t any.”
- “Since you cannot prove that there is water on Mars, then there must be
water on Mars.”
- “Scientists have not found any concrete evidence of aliens visiting Earth.
Therefore, anyone who claims to have seen a UFO must be hallucinating.”

12. Argumentum Ad Verecundiam


- argument from inappropriate authority
- appeal to the testimony of an authority outside the authority’s special field of
exercise
- insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expect on the
issue said it was true without any other supporting evidence offered

Examples:

- “Because I said so, that’s why!”


- Quoting Einstein on politics
- “This shampoo is recommended by Adolf Hitler so it must be of high quality.”