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Fallacy-A-Day

Presented by Bo Bennett, PhD


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This is a crash course, meant to catapult you into a world where you start to see things how they really are, not how you think they are. The focus of this course is on logical fallacies, which loosely defined, are simply errors in reasoning.

Significantly Improve the Way You Reason and Make Decisions

Learn how to recognize bad arguments
Be able to articulate why an argument is bad
Learn important details on over 200 of the most common logical fallacies
Learn about dozens of other lesser-used errors in reasoning commonly identified as logical fallacies


Become a Master at Identifying Logical Fallacies

Fallacies have been around since the ancient Greek philosophers, and perhaps since the dawn of communication. Since the advent of social media, they seem to be around a lot more. Through mastering logical fallacies, you cannot only correct others when they display a lapse in reasoning, but you can prevent yourself from making similar reasoning faux pas. You will be doing your part in making the world a more reasonable place.

By the end of this course, you should be more confident in your ability to engage in rational arguments as well as present your own arguments.

Audience

This course was designed for students 13 and up.

Learning Resources

For this course, text, audio, and video resources are used. All of the resources are compatible with virtually all modern web-browsers and mobile devices.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

There are no required resources for this course.

Optional Resources

There are no optional resources for this course.

Student Expectations

As a self-paced course, there are no time expectations. However, student support is limited to 6 months from the start of the course date. Students are expected to communicate with instructors and other students in a professional and respectful manner.

This Syllabus May Be Updated

The contents of this syllabus may change from time to time. All students will be notified by e-mail of any significant changes.

Lessons in this Course

Click on any lesson below to see the lesson details. If you are a student and logged in, or if the lesson is a sample lesson, you will be able to go to the lesson.

Lesson #1: Course Introduction

There are those who say that we are living in a "post-truth world." This is the idea that the truth no longer matters. People back up their personal religious beliefs by stating "it's true to me, and that's all that matters." People support their po. . .

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Lesson #2: Introduction Part 1

While this book is written for the layperson, I do need to introduce some concepts which may be new to you but play an important role in reasoning, as well as issue a few warnings, and explain how this book is organized. First, let’s answer t. . .

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Lesson #3: Introduction Part 2

What is a Logical Fallacy, Exactly?. The word "fallacy" comes from the Latin "fallacia" which means "deception, deceit, trick, artifice," however, a more specific meaning in logic (a logical fallacy) that dates back to the 1550s means "false syllog. . .

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Lesson #4: Introduction Part 3

On Reason and Rationality. If you are a parent, you know exactly what it is like to argue with someone who is unreasonable and irrational. Many attempts at logic and reason end with the parent coming down to the level of the child—basing argu. . .

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Lesson #5: Accent Fallacy

accentus (also known as:  emphasis fallacy, fallacy of accent, fallacy of prosody, misleading accent) Description: When the meaning of a word, sentence, or entire idea is changed by where the accent falls. Example #1: In the movie, M. . .

Lesson #6: Accident Fallacy

a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid (also known as: destroying the exception, dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, dicto simpliciter, converse accident, reverse accident, fallacy of the general rule, sweeping generalization) Desc. . .

Lesson #7: Ad Fidentia

argumentum ad fidentia (also known as: against self-confidence) Description: Attacking the person’s self-confidence in place of the argument or the evidence. Logical Form: Person 1 claims that Y is true, but is person 1 really sure . . .

Lesson #8: Ad Hoc Rescue

ad hoc (also known as: making stuff up, MSU fallacy) Description: Very often we desperately want to be right and hold on to certain beliefs, despite any evidence presented to the contrary.  As a result, we begin to make up excuses as to . . .

Lesson #9: Ad Hominem (Abusive)

argumentum ad hominem (also known as:  personal abuse, personal attacks, abusive fallacy, damning the source, name calling, refutation by caricature, against the person, against the man) Description: Attacking the person making the argume. . .

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Lesson #10: Ad Hominem (Circumstantial)

argumentum ad hominem (also known as: appeal to motive, appeal to personal interest, argument from motives, conflict of interest, faulty motives, naïve cynicism, questioning motives, vested interest) Description: Suggesting that the pers. . .

Lesson #11: Ad Hominem (Guilt by Association)

argumentum ad hominem (also known as:  association fallacy, bad company fallacy, company that you keep fallacy, they’re not like us fallacy, transfer fallacy) Description: When the source is viewed negatively because of its associa. . .

Lesson #12: Ad Hominem (Tu quoque)

argumentum ad hominem tu quoque (also known as:  “you too” fallacy, hypocrisy, personal inconsistency) Description: Claiming the argument is flawed by pointing out that the one making the argument is not acting consistently w. . .

Lesson #13: Affirmative Conclusion from a Negative Premise

(also known as: illicit negative, drawing a negative conclusion from affirmative premises, fallacy of negative premises) This is our first fallacy in formal logic out of about a dozen presented in this book.  Formal fallacies can be confu. . .

Lesson #14: Affirming a Disjunct

(also known as: the fallacy of the alternative disjunct, false exclusionary disjunct, affirming one disjunct, the fallacy of the alternative syllogism, asserting an alternative, improper disjunctive syllogism, fallacy of the disjunctive syllogism. . .

Lesson #15: Alleged Certainty

(also known as: assuming the conclusion) Description: Asserting a conclusion without evidence or premises, through a statement that makes the conclusion appear certain when, in fact, it is not. Logical Form: Everybody knows that X is true.. . .

Lesson #16: Affirming the Consequent

(also known as: converse error, fallacy of the consequent, asserting the consequent, affirmation of the consequent) New Terminology: Consequent: the propositional component of a conditional proposition whose truth is conditional; or simply pu. . .

Lesson #17: Alphabet Soup

Description: The deliberate and excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations to appear more knowledgeable in the subject or confuse others. Logical Form: Person 1 uses acronyms and abbreviations. Therefore, person 1 knows what he or she is t. . .

Lesson #18: Alternative Advance

(also known as: lose-lose situation) Description: When one is presented with just two choices, both of which are essentially the same, just worded differently.  This technique is often used in sales.  Fallacious reasoning would be co. . .

Lesson #19: Amazing Familiarity

(also known as:  argument from omniscience, "how the hell can you possibly know that?") Description: The argument contains information that seems impossible to have obtained—like it came from an omniscient author. This kind of writin. . .

Lesson #20: Ambiguity Fallacy

(also known as: ambiguous assertion, amphiboly, amphibology, semantical ambiguity, vagueness) Description: When an unclear phrase with multiple definitions is used within the argument; therefore, does not support the conclusion.  Some wil. . .

Lesson #21: Anonymous Authority

(also known as: appeal to anonymous authority) Description: When an unspecified source is used as evidence for the claim.  This is commonly indicated by phrases such as “They say that...”, “It has been said...”, &l. . .

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Lesson #22: Anthropomorphism

(also known as: personification) Description: The attributing of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, or other natural phenomena, or to gods. This becomes a logical fallacy when used within the context of. . .

Lesson #23: Appeal to Accomplishment

(also known as: appeal to success) Description: When the argument being made is sheltered from criticism based on the level of accomplishment of the one making the argument.  A form of this fallacy also occurs when arguments are evaluated. . .

Lesson #24: Appeal to Anger

argumentum ad iram (also known as: appeal to hatred, loathing, appeal to outrage, etc.) Description: When the emotions of anger, hatred, or rage are substituted for evidence in an argument. Logical Forms: Person 1 claims that X is true. . . .

Lesson #25: Appeal to Authority

argumentum ad verecundiam (also known as: argument from authority, appeal to false authority, appeal to unqualified authority, argument from false authority, ipse dixit) Description : Using an authority as evidence in your argument when th. . .

Lesson #26: Appeal to Celebrity

Appeal to Celebrity. {panels-0-5QOva5QOva-LogicalFallacies} Description: Accepting a claim of a celebrity based on his or her celebrity status, not on the strength of the argument. Logical Form: Celebrity 1 says to use product Y. Therefo. . .

Lesson #27: Appeal to Closure

(also known as:  appeal to justice) Description: Accepting evidence on the basis of wanting closure—or to be done with the issue. While the desire for closure is a real psychological phenomenon that does have an effect on the well-be. . .

Lesson #28: Appeal to Coincidence

(also known as: appeal to luck, appeal to bad luck, appeal to good luck) Description: Concluding that a result is due to chance when the evidence strongly suggests otherwise.  The appeal to luck variation uses luck in place of coinciden. . .

Lesson #29: Appeal to Common Belief

argumentum ad populum (also known as: appeal to accepted belief, appeal to democracy, appeal to widespread belief, appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, argument by consensus, consensus fallacy, authority of the many, b. . .

Lesson #30: Appeal to Common Folk

(also known as: appeal to the common man) Description: In place of evidence, attempting to establish a connection to the audience based on being a “regular person” just like each of them.  Then suggesting that your proposition. . .

Lesson #31: Appeal to Common Sense

Description: Asserting that your conclusion or facts are just “common sense” when, in fact, they are not. We must argue as to why we believe something is common sense if there is any doubt that the belief is not common, rather than. . .

Lesson #32: Appeal to Complexity

Description: Concluding that because you don't understand something, it must not be true, it's improbable, or the argument must be flawed. This is a specific form of the argument from ignorance . Logical Form: I don't understand argument . . .

Lesson #33: Appeal to Consequences

argumentum ad consequentiam (also known as: appeal to consequences of a belief, argument to the consequences, argument from [the] consequences) Description: Concluding that an idea or proposition is true or false because the consequences of i. . .

Lesson #34: Appeal to Definition

(also known as: appeal to the dictionary, victory by definition) Description : Using a dictionary’s limited definition of a term as evidence that term cannot have another meaning, expanded meaning, or even conflicting meaning.  Thi. . .

Lesson #35: Appeal to Desperation

Description: Arguing that your conclusion, solution, or proposition is right based on the fact that something must be done, and your solution is "something." Logical Form: Something must be done. X is something. Therefore, X must be done. . . .

Lesson #36: Appeal to Equality

(also known as:  appeal to egalitarianism, appeal to equity) Description: An assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality, where what exactly is "equal" is not made clear, and not supported by the argument. Ex. . .

Lesson #37: Appeal to Emotion

(also known as: argument by vehemence, playing on emotions, emotional appeal, for the children) Description: This is the general category of many fallacies that use emotion in place of reason in order to attempt to win the argument.  It is . . .

Lesson #38: Appeal to Extremes

Description: Erroneously attempting to make a reasonable argument into an absurd one, by taking the argument to the extremes. Note that this is not a valid reductio ad absurdum . Logical Form: If X is true, then Y must also be true (where . . .

Lesson #39: Appeal to Faith

Description: This is an abandonment of reason in an argument and a call to faith, usually when reason clearly leads to disproving the conclusion of an argument.  It is the assertion that one must have (the right kind of) faith in order to un. . .

Lesson #40: Appeal to Fear

argumentum in terrorem (also known as: argumentum ad metum, argument from adverse consequences, scare tactics) Description:   When fear, not based on evidence or reason, is being used as the primary motivator to get others to accept an idea. . .

Lesson #41: Appeal to Flattery

(also known as: apple polishing, wheel greasing, brown nosing, appeal to pride / argumentum ad superbiam, appeal to vanity) Description: When an attempt is made to win support for an argument, not by the strength of the argument, but by using fl. . .

Lesson #42: Appeal to Force

argumentum ad baculum (also known as: argument to the cudgel, appeal to the stick) Description:   When force, coercion, or even a threat of force is used in place of a reason in an attempt to justify a conclusion. Logical Form: If you d. . .

Lesson #43: Appeal to Heaven

deus vult (also known as: gott mit uns, manifest destiny, special covenant) Description: Asserting the conclusion must be accepted because it is the “will of God” or “the will of the gods”.  In the mind of those com. . .

Lesson #44: Appeal to Intuition

(also known as:  appeal to the gut) Description: Evaluating an argument based on "intuition" or "gut feeling" that is unable to be articulated, rather than evaluating the argument using reason. Logical Forms: Evidence is given for argume. . .

Lesson #45: Appeal to Nature

Argumentum ad Naturam Description: When used as a fallacy, the belief or suggestion that “natural” is always better than “unnatural.” Many people adopt this as a default belief. It is the belief that is what is natural . . .

Lesson #46: Appeal to Normality

Description: Using social norms to determine what is good or bad.  It is the idea that normality is the standard of goodness.  This is fallacious because social norms are not the same as norms found in nature or norms that are synonymou. . .

Lesson #47: Appeal to Novelty

argumentum ad novitatem (also known as: appeal to the new, ad novitam [sometimes spelled as]) Description: Claiming that something that is new or modern is superior to the status quo, based exclusively on its newness. Logical Form: X has be. . .

Lesson #48: Appeal to Pity

ad misericordiam (also known as: appeal to sympathy) Description: The attempt to distract from the truth of the conclusion by the use of pity. Logical Forms: Person 1 is accused of Y, but person 1 is pathetic. Therefore, person 1 is innoce. . .

Lesson #49: Appeal to Popularity

argumentum ad numeram (also see: appeal to common belief ) Description: Using the popularity of a premise or proposition as evidence for its truthfulness.  This is a fallacy which is very difficult to spot because our “common sense&. . .

Lesson #50: Appeal to Possibility

(also known as: appeal to probability) Description: When a conclusion is assumed not because it is probably true or it has not been demonstrated to be impossible, but because it is possible that it is true, no matter how improbable. Logical . . .

Lesson #51: Appeal to Ridicule

reductio ad ridiculum (also known as: appeal to mockery, the horse laugh) Description: Presenting the argument in such a way that makes the argument look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or the use of exaggeration. Logical . . .

Lesson #52: Appeal to Self-evident Truth

Description: Making the claim that something is "self-evident" when it is not self-evident in place of arguing a claim with reason. In everyday terms, something is "self-evident" when understanding what it means immediately results in knowing that. . .

Lesson #53: Appeal to Spite

argumentum ad odium Description: Substituting spite (petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart) for evidence in an argument, or as a reason to support or reject a claim. Logical Form: Claim X is made. Claim . . .

Lesson #54: Appeal to Stupidity

Description: Attempting to get the audience to devalue reason and intellectual discourse, or devaluing reason and intellectual discourse based on the rhetoric of an arguer. Logical Form: Person 1 downplays the importance of reason, logic, or s. . .

Lesson #55: Appeal to the Law

Description: When following the law is assumed to be the morally correct thing to do, without justification, or when breaking the law is assumed to be the morally wrong thing to do, without justification. Logical Form: X is illegal. Therefore. . .

Lesson #56: Appeal to the Moon

(also known as: argumentum ad lunam) Description: Using the argument, “If we can put a man on the moon, we could...” as evidence for the argument. This is a specific form of the weak analogy . Logical Form: If we can put a m. . .

Lesson #57: Appeal to Tradition

argumentum ad antiquitatem (also known as: appeal to common practice, appeal to antiquity, appeal to traditional wisdom, proof from tradition, appeal to past practice, traditional wisdom) Description: Using historical preferences of the people . . .

Lesson #58: Appeal to Trust

(also known as:  appeal to distrust [opposite], appeal to trustworthiness) Description: The belief that if a source is considered trustworthy or untrustworthy, then any information from that source must be true or false, respectively. This i. . .

Lesson #59: Argument by Emotive Language

(also known as: loaded words, loaded language, euphemisms) Description: Substituting facts and evidence with words that stir up emotion, with the attempt to manipulate others into accepting the truth of the argument. Logical Form: Person A c. . .

Lesson #60: Argument by Fast Talking

Description: When fast talking is seen as intelligence and/or confidence in the truth of one’s argument; therefore, seen as evidence of the truth of the argument itself.  Logical Form: According to person 1, Y is true. Person 1 sp. . .

Lesson #61: Argument by Gibberish

(also known as: bafflement, argument by [prestigious] jargon) Description: When incomprehensible jargon or plain incoherent gibberish is used to give the appearance of a strong argument, in place of evidence or valid reasons to accept the argume. . .

Lesson #62: Argument by Personal Charm

(also known as: sex appeal [form of], flamboyance, eloquence) Description: When an argument is made stronger by the personal characteristics of the person making the argument, often referred to as “charm”. Logical Form: Person 1 . . .

Lesson #63: Argument by Pigheadedness

(also known as: argument by stubbornness, invincible ignorance fallacy) Description: This is a refusal to accept a well-proven argument for one of many reasons related to stubbornness. It can also be the refusal to argue about a claim that one su. . .

Lesson #64: Argument by Repetition

argumentum ad nauseam (also known as: argument from nagging, proof by assertion) Description: Repeating an argument or a premise over and over again in place of better supporting evidence. Logical Form: X is true. X is true. X is true. X is. . .

Lesson #65: Argument by Selective Reading

Description: When a series of arguments or claims is made and the opponent acts as if the weakest argument was the best one made. This is a form of cherry picking and very similar to the selective attention fallacy . Logical Form: Perso. . .

Lesson #66: Argument from Age

(also known as: wisdom of the ancients) Description: The misconception that previous generations had superior wisdom to modern man, thus conclusions that rely on this wisdom are seen accepted as true or more true than they actually are. Logica. . .

Lesson #67: Argument from Fallacy

argumentum ad logicam (also known as: disproof by fallacy, argument to logic, fallacy fallacy, fallacist's fallacy, bad reasons fallacy [form of]) Description: Concluding that the truth value of an argument is false based on the fact that the a. . .

Lesson #68: Argument from False Authority

Description: When a person making a claim is presented as an expert who should be trusted when his or her expertise is not in the area being discussed. Logical Form: Expert A gives her view on issue B. Expert A's area of expertise has little . . .

Lesson #69: Argument from Hearsay

(also known as: the telephone game, Chinese whispers, anecdotal evidence, anecdotal fallacy/Volvo fallacy [form of]) Description : Presenting the testimony of a source that is not an eyewitness to the event in question.  It has been conc. . .

Lesson #70: Argument from Ignorance

ad ignorantiam (also known as: appeal to ignorance) Description: The assumption of a conclusion or fact based primarily on lack of evidence to the contrary.  Usually best described by, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.. . .

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Lesson #71: Argument from Incredulity

(also known as:  argument from personal astonishment, argument from personal incredulity, personal incredulity) Description: Concluding that because you can't or refuse to believe something, it must not be true, improbable, or the argument m. . .

Lesson #72: Argument from Silence

argumentum e silentio Description: Drawing a conclusion based on the silence of the opponent, when the opponent is refusing to give evidence for any reason. Logical Form: Person 1 claims X is true, then remains silent. Person 2 then conclud. . .

Lesson #73: Argument of the Beard

(also known as: fallacy of the beard, heap fallacy, heap paradox fallacy, bald man fallacy, continuum fallacy, line drawing fallacy, sorites fallacy) Description: When one argues that no useful distinction can be made between two extremes, just . . .

Lesson #74: Argument to Moderation

argumentum ad temperantiam (also known as: middle ground, false compromise, gray fallacy, golden mean fallacy, fallacy of the mean, splitting the difference) Description: Asserting that given any two positions, there exists a compromise between. . .

Lesson #75: Argument to the Purse

argumentum ad crumenam (also known as: appeal to poverty or argumentum ad lazarum, appeal to wealth, appeal to money) Description: Concluding that the truth value of the argument is true or false based on the financial status of the author of. . .

Lesson #76: Avoiding the Issue

(also known as: avoiding the question [form of], missing the point, straying off the subject, digressing, distraction [form of]) Description: When an arguer responds to an argument by not addressing the points of the argument.  Unlike the . . .

Lesson #77: Base Rate Fallacy

(also known as: neglecting base rates, base rate neglect, prosecutor's fallacy [form of]) Description: Ignoring statistical information in favor of using irrelevant information, that one incorrectly believes to be relevant, to make a judgment.&n. . .

Lesson #78: Begging the Question

petitio principii (also known as: assuming the initial point, assuming the answer, chicken and the egg argument, circulus in probando, circular reasoning [form of], vicious circle) Description: Any form of argument where the conclusion is assum. . .

Lesson #79: Biased Sample Fallacy

(also known as: biased statistics, loaded sample, prejudiced statistics, prejudiced sample, loaded statistics, biased induction, biased generalization, biased generalizing, unrepresentative sample, unrepresentative generalization) Description: D. . .

Lesson #80: Blind Authority Fallacy

(also known as: blind obedience, the "team player" appeal, Nuremberg defense, divine authority [form of], appeal to/argument from blind authority) Description: Asserting that a proposition is true solely on the authority making the claim while e. . .

Lesson #81: Broken Window Fallacy

(also known as: glazier's fallacy) Description: The illusion that destruction and money spent in recovery from destruction, is a net-benefit to society.  A broader application of this fallacy is the general tendency to overlook opportunity . . .

Lesson #82: Bulverism

Description: This is a combination of circular reasoning and the genetic fallacy . It is the assumption and assertion that an argument is flawed or false because of the arguer's suspected motives, social identity, or other characteristic as. . .

Lesson #83: Causal Reductionism

(also known as: complex cause, fallacy of the single cause, causal oversimplification, reduction fallacy) Description: Assuming a single cause or reason when there were actually multiple causes or reasons. Logical Form: X occurred after Y. . . .

Lesson #84: Cherry Picking

(also known as: ignoring inconvenient data, suppressed evidence, fallacy of incomplete evidence, argument by selective observation, argument by half-truth, card stacking, fallacy of exclusion, ignoring the counter evidence, one-sided assessment, sl. . .

Lesson #85: Circular Definition

Description: A circular definition is defining a term by using the term in the definition.  Ironically, that definition is partly guilty by my use of the term “definition” in the definition.  Okay, I am using definition way t. . .

Lesson #86: Circular Reasoning

circulus in demonstrando (also known as: paradoxical thinking, circular argument, circular cause and consequence, reasoning in a circle) Description: A type of reasoning in which the proposition is supported by the premises, which is supported . . .

Lesson #87: Commutation of Conditionals

(also known as: the fallacy of the consequent, converting a conditional) Description: Switching the antecedent and the consequent in a logical argument. Logical Form: If P then Q. Therefore, if Q then P. Example #1: If I have a PhD, the. . .

Lesson #88: Complex Question Fallacy

plurium interrogationum (also known as: many questions fallacy, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, trick question, false question) Description: A question that has a presupposition built in, which implies something but protects the one. . .

Lesson #89: Conflicting Conditions

contradictio in adjecto (also known as: a self-contradiction, self-refuting idea) Description: When the argument is self-contradictory and cannot possibly be true. Example #1: The only thing that is certain is uncertainty. Explanation: U. . .

Lesson #90: Confusing an Explanation with an Excuse

Description: Treating an explanation of a fact as if it were a justification of the fact, a valid reason for the fact, or evidence for the fact. Logical Form: Person 1 asks that claim X be justified. Person 2 explains claim X in detail. The. . .

Lesson #91: Confusing Currently Unexplained with Unexplainable

Description: Making the assumption that what cannot currently be explained is, therefore, unexplainable (impossible to explain). This is a problem because we cannot know the future and what conditions might arise that offer an explanation. It is a. . .

Lesson #92: Conjunction Fallacy

(also known as: conjunction effect) Description: The assumption that more specific conditions are more probable than general ones.  This fallacy usually stems from thinking the choices are alternatives, rather than members of the same set.&. . .

Lesson #93: Conspiracy Theory

(also known as: canceling hypothesis, canceling hypotheses, cover-ups) Description: Explaining that your claim cannot be proven or verified because the truth is being hidden and/or evidence destroyed by a group of two or more people.  When . . .

Lesson #94: Contextomy

(also known as: fallacy of quoting out of context, quoting out of context) Description: Removing a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. Logical Form: Argument X has meaning 1 in context. Argum. . .

Lesson #95: Definist Fallacy

(also known as: persuasive definition fallacy, redefinition) Description: Defining a term in such a way that makes one’s position much easier to defend. Logical Form: A has definition X. X is harmful to my argument. Therefore, A has . . .

Lesson #96: Denying a Conjunct

Description: A formal fallacy in which the first premise states that at least one of the two conjuncts (antecedent and consequent) is false and concludes that the other conjunct must be true. Logical Forms: Not both P and Q. Not P. Theref. . .

Lesson #97: Denying the Antecedent

(also known as: inverse error, inverse fallacy) Description: It is a fallacy in formal logic where in a standard if/then premise, the antecedent (what comes after the “if”) is made not true, then it is concluded that the consequent (. . .

Lesson #98: Denying the Correlative

(also known as: denying the correlative conjunction) Description: Introducing alternatives when, in fact, there are none.  This could happen when you have two mutually exclusive statements ( correlative conjunction ) presented as choices, a. . .

Lesson #99: Disjunction Fallacy

Description: Reasoning that it is more likely that a member is part of a subset rather than a member of the set which contains the subset.  This fallacy usually stems from thinking the choices are alternatives, rather than members of the sam. . .

Lesson #100: Distinction Without a Difference

Description: The assertion that a position is different from another position based on the language when, in fact, both positions are the same -- at least in practice or practical terms. Logical Form: A is not the same as the first letter in . . .

Lesson #101: Double Standard

Description: Judging two situations by different standards when, in fact, you should be using the same standard. This is used in argumentation to unfairly support or reject an argument. Logical Form: Person 1 makes claim X and gives reason Y. . . .

Lesson #102: Ecological Fallacy

(also known as: ecological inference fallacy) Description: T he interpretation of statistical data where inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inference for the group to which those individuals belong. Logical Form: Gro. . .

Lesson #103: Etymological Fallacy

Description: The assumption that the present-day meaning of a word should be/is similar to the historical meaning.  This fallacy ignores the evolution of language and heart of linguistics.  This fallacy is usually committed when one fin. . .

Lesson #104: Equivocation

(also known as: doublespeak) Description: Using an ambiguous term in more than one sense, thus making an argument misleading. Example #1: I want to have myself a merry little Christmas, but I refuse to do as the song suggests and make the yu. . .

Lesson #105: Exclusive Premises

(also known as: fallacy of exclusive premises) Description: A standard form categorical syllogism that has two negative premises either in the form of  “no X are Y” or “some X are not Y”. Logical Forms: No X are . . .

Lesson #106: Existential Fallacy

(also known as: existential instantiation) Description: A formal logical fallacy, which is committed when a categorical syllogism employs two universal premises (“all”) to arrive at a particular (“some”) conclusion. In a. . .

Lesson #107: Extended Analogy

Description: Suggesting that because two things are alike in some way and one of those things is like something else, then both things must be like that "something else". In essence, the ad Hitlerum fallacy is an extended analogy because it is. . .

Lesson #108: Failure to Elucidate

obscurum per obscurius Description: When the definition is made more difficult to understand than the word or concept being defined. Logical Form: Person 1 makes a claim. Person 2 asks for clarification of the claim, or a term being used. . . .

Lesson #109: Fake Precision

(also known as: over-precision, false precision, misplaced precision, spurious accuracy) Description: Using implausibly precise statistics to give the appearance of truth and certainty, or using a negligible difference in data to draw incorrect . . .

Lesson #110: Fallacy of (the) Undistributed Middle

(also known as: maldistributed middle, undistributed middle term) Description: A formal fallacy in a categorical syllogism where the middle term , or the term that does not appear in the conclusion, is not distributed to the other two terms. . . .

Lesson #111: Fallacy of Composition

(also known as: composition fallacy, exception fallacy, faulty induction) Description: Inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.  This is the opposite of the fallacy of division . . .

Lesson #112: Fallacy of Division

(also known as: false division, faulty deduction, division fallacy) Description: Inferring that something is true of one or more of the parts from the fact that it is true of the whole.  This is the opposite of the fallacy of composition .. . .

Lesson #113: Fallacy of Every and All

Description: When an argument contains both universal quantifiers and existential quantifiers (all, some, none, every) with different meanings when the order of the quantifiers is reversed. This is a specific form of equivocation . Example #1: . . .

Lesson #114: Fallacy of Four Terms

quaternio terminorum (also known as: ambiguous middle term) Description: This fallacy occurs in a categorical syllogism when the syllogism has four terms rather than the requisite three (in a sense, it cannot be a categorical syllogism to begin. . .

Lesson #115: Fallacy of Opposition

Description: Asserting that those who disagree with you must be wrong and not thinking straight, primarily based on the fact that they are the opposition. Logical Form: Person 1 is asserting X. Person 1 is the opposition. Therefore, X must b. . .

Lesson #116: False Attribution

Description: Appealing to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased, or fabricated source in support of an argument (modern usage). Historical use of this fallacy was in the attribution of "religious" or "spiritual" experiences to outside . . .

Lesson #117: False Conversion

(also known as: illicit conversion, [illicit] inductive conversion) New Terminology: Type “A” Logical Forms: A proposition or premise that uses the word, “all” or “every” (e.g., All P are Q) Type “E&rd. . .

Lesson #118: False Dilemma

(also known as: all-or-nothing fallacy, false dichotomy*, the either-or fallacy, either-or reasoning, fallacy of false choice, fallacy of false alternatives, black-and-white thinking, the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses, bifurcation, excluded midd. . .

Lesson #119: False Effect

non causa pro causa Description: Unlike the false cause , the false effect incorrectly assumes an effect from a cause. Logical Forms: X apparently causes Y. Y is wrong. Therefore, X is wrong.   X apparently causes Y. Y is right.. . .

Lesson #120: Fantasy Projection

Description: Confusing subjective experiences, usually very emotionally charged, with objective realities, then suggesting or demanding that others accept the fantasy as truth. Logical Form: Person 1 has subjective experience X. Person 1 inco. . .

Lesson #121: Far-Fetched Hypothesis

Description: Offering a bizarre (far-fetched) hypothesis as the correct explanation without first ruling out more mundane explanations. Example #1: Seth: How did my keys get in your coat pocket? Terrence: Honestly, I don’t know,  . . .

Lesson #122: Faulty Comparison

(also known as: bad comparison, false comparison, inconsistent comparison [form of]) Description: Comparing one thing to another that is really not related, in order to make one thing look more or less desirable than it really is. Example #1: . . .

Lesson #123: Gadarene Swine Fallacy

Description: The assumption that because an individual is not in formation with the group, that the individual must be the one off course. It is possible that the one who appears off course is the only one on the right course. Logical Form: Pe. . .

Lesson #124: Galileo Fallacy

(also known as:  Galileo argument, Galileo defense, Galileo gambit, Galileo wannabe) Description: The claim that because an idea is forbidden, prosecuted, detested, or otherwise mocked, it must be true, or should be given more credibility. T. . .

Lesson #125: Gambler's Fallacy

(also known as: the Monte Carlo fallacy, the doctrine of the maturity of chances) Description: Reasoning that, in a situation that is pure random chance, the outcome can be affected by previous outcomes. Example #1: I have flipped heads five. . .

Lesson #126: Genetic Fallacy

(also known as: fallacy of origins, fallacy of virtue) Description: Basing the truth claim of an argument on the origin of its claims or premises. Logical Form: The origin of the claim is presented. Therefore, the claim is true/false. E. . .

Lesson #127: Hasty Generalization

(also known as: argument from small numbers, statistics of small numbers, insufficient statistics, argument by generalization, faulty generalization, hasty induction, inductive generalization, insufficient sample, lonely fact fallacy, over generali. . .

Lesson #128: Having Your Cake

(also known as: failure to assert, diminished claim, failure to choose sides) Description: Making an argument, or responding to one, in such a way that it does not make it at all clear what your position is.  This puts you in a position to . . .

Lesson #129: Hedging

Description: Refining your claim simply to avoid counter evidence and then acting as if your revised claim is the same as the original. Logical Form: Claim X is made. Claim X is refuted. Claim Y is then made and is made to be the same as cl. . .

Lesson #130: Historian's Fallacy

(also known as: retrospective determinism, hindsight) Description: Judging a person's decision in the light of new information not available at the time. Logical Form: Claim X was made in the past. Those who made the claim did not take into. . .

Lesson #131: Homunculus Fallacy

(also known as: homunculus argument, infinite regress) Description: An argument that accounts for a phenomenon in terms of the very phenomenon that it is supposed to explain, which results in an infinite regress. Logical Form: Phenomenon X n. . .

Lesson #132: Hot Hand Fallacy

(also known as: hot hand phenomenon) Description: The hot hand fallacy is the irrational belief that if you win or lose several chance games in a row, you are either “hot” or “cold,” respectively, meaning that the streak i. . .

Lesson #133: Hypnotic Bait and Switch

Description: Stating several uncontroversially true statements in succession, followed by a claim that the arguer wants the audience to accept as true.  This is a propaganda technique, but also a fallacy when the audience lends more credibil. . .

Lesson #134: Hypothesis Contrary to Fact

(also known as: counterfactual fallacy, speculative fallacy, "what if" fallacy, wouldchuck) Description: Offering a poorly supported claim about what might have happened in the past or future, if (the hypothetical part) circumstances or conditio. . .

Lesson #135: Identity Fallacy

(also known as: identity politics) Description: When one's argument is evaluated based on their physical or social identity, i.e., their social class, generation, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation, profession, occupation or subgroup when. . .

Lesson #136: If-By-Whiskey

Description: A response to a question that is contingent on the questioner’s opinions and makes use of words with strong connotations.  This fallacy appears to support both sides of an issue -- a tactic common in politics. Example #1. . .

Lesson #137: Illicit Contraposition

New Terminology: Illicit: Forbidden by the rules, or in our cases, by the laws of logic. Contraposition: Switching the subject and predicate terms of a categorical proposition, and negating each. Description: A formal fallacy where switching. . .

Lesson #138: Illicit Major

(also known as: illicit process of the major term) Description: Any form of a categorical syllogism in which the major term is distributed in the conclusion, but not in the major premise. Logical Form: All A are B. No C are A. Therefore,. . .

Lesson #139: Illicit Minor

(also known as: illicit process of the minor term) Description: Any form of a categorical syllogism in which the minor term is distributed in the conclusion, but not in the minor premise. Logical Form: All A are B. All B are C. Therefore. . .

Lesson #140: Illicit Substitution of Identicals

(also known as: hooded man fallacy, masked man fallacy, intensional fallacy) Description: A formal fallacy due to confusing the knowing of a thing ( extension ) with the knowing of it under all its various names or descriptions ( intension ). W. . .

Lesson #141: Incomplete Comparison

Description: An incomplete assertion that cannot possibly be refuted. This is popular in advertising. Logical Form: X is said to be superior, but to nothing specifically. Example #1: One of my favorite candies, Raisinets , advertises on t. . .

Lesson #142: Inconsistency

(also known as: internal contradiction, logical inconsistency) Description: In terms of a fallacious argument, two or more propositions are asserted that cannot both possibly be true.  In a more general sense, holding two or more views/beli. . .

Lesson #143: Inflation of Conflict

Description: Reasoning that because authorities cannot agree precisely on an issue, no conclusions can be reached at all, and minimizing the credibility of the authorities, as a result.  This is a form of black and white thinking -- either w. . .

Lesson #144: Insignificant Cause

(also known as: fallacy of insignificant, genuine but insignificant cause) Description: An explanation that posits one minor factor, out of several that contributed, as its sole cause. This fallacy also occurs when an explanation is requested, an. . .

Lesson #145: Jumping to Conclusions

(also known as: hasty conclusion, hasty decision, leaping to conclusions, specificity) Description: Drawing a conclusion without taking the needed time to reason through the argument. Example #1: That new home looks great!  Let’s . . .

Lesson #146: Just Because Fallacy

(also known as: trust me, mother knows best fallacy, because I said so, you’ll see) Description: Refusing to respond to give reasons or evidence for a claim by stating yourself as the ultimate authority on the matter.  This is usually. . .

Lesson #147: Just In Case Fallacy

(also known as: worst case scenario fallacy) Description: Making an argument based on the worst-case scenario rather than the most probable scenario, allowing fear to prevail over reason. Logical Form: It would be a good idea to accept claim. . .

Lesson #148: Kettle Logic

Description: Making (usually) multiple, contradicting arguments, in an attempt to support a single point or idea. Logical Form: Statement 1 is made. Statement 2 is made and contradicts statement 1. Statement 3 is made and contradicts stateme. . .

Lesson #149: Least Plausible Hypothesis

Description: Choosing more unreasonable explanations for phenomena over more defensible ones.  In judging the validity of hypotheses or conclusions from observation, the scientific method relies upon the Principle of Parsimony , also known . . .

Lesson #150: Limited Depth

Description: Failing to appeal to an underlying cause, and instead simply appealing to membership in a category.  In other words, simply asserting what you are trying to explain without actually explaining anything. Example #1: My dog go. . .

Lesson #151: Limited Scope

Description: The theory doesn't explain anything other than the phenomenon it explains, and at best, is likely to be incomplete.  This is often done by just redefining a term or phrase rather than explaining it. Example #1: My car broke . . .

Lesson #152: Logic Chopping

(also known as: quibbling, nit-picking, smokescreen, splitting-hairs, trivial objections) Description: Using the technical tools of logic in an unhelpful and pedantic manner by focusing on trivial details instead of directly addressing the main . . .

Lesson #153: Ludic Fallacy

ludus Description: Assuming flawless statistical models apply to situations where they actually don’t.  This can result in the over-confidence in probability theory or simply not knowing exactly where it applies as opposed to chaotic . . .

Lesson #154: Lying with Statistics

(also known as: statistical fallacy/fallacies, misunderstanding the nature of statistics [form of], fallacy of curve fitting, the fallacy of overfitting) Description: This can be seen as an entire class of fallacies that result in presenting sta. . .

Lesson #155: Magical Thinking

(also known as: superstitious thinking) Description: Making causal connections or correlations between two events not based on logic or evidence, but primarily based on superstition.  Magical thinking often causes one to experience irratio. . .

Lesson #156: McNamara Fallacy

(also known as: quantitative fallacy, Skittles fallacy) Description: When a decision is based solely on quantitative observations (i.e., metrics, hard data, statistics) and all qualitative factors are ignored. Logical Form: Measure whatever. . .

Lesson #157: Meaningless Question

Description: Asking a question that cannot be answered with any sort of rational meaning. This is the textual equivalent of dividing by zero. Example #1: What’s north of the North Pole? Explanation: The North Pole is the most norther. . .

Lesson #158: Misleading Vividness

Description: A small number of dramatic and vivid events are taken to outweigh a significant amount of statistical evidence. Logical Form: Dramatic or vivid event X occurs (does not jibe with the majority of the statistical evidence). Theref. . .

Lesson #159: Missing Data Fallacy

(also known as: missing information fallacy) Description: Refusing to admit ignorance to the hypothesis and/or the conclusion, but insisting that your ignorance has to do with missing data that validate both the hypothesis and conclusion. Logi. . .

Lesson #160: Modal (Scope) Fallacy

(also known as: fallacy of modal logic, misconditionalization, fallacy of neccessity) Description: Modal logic studies ways in which propositions can be true or false, the most common being necessity and possibility .  Some proposition. . .

Lesson #161: Moralistic Fallacy

(also known as: moral fallacy) Description: When the conclusion expresses what is, based only on what one believes ought to be, or what isn’t is based on what one believes ought not to be. This is the opposite of the naturalistic fall. . .

Lesson #162: Moving the Goalposts

(also known as: gravity game, raising the bar, argument by demanding impossible perfection [form of]) Description: Demanding from an opponent that he or she address more and more points after the initial counter-argument has been satisfied refus. . .

Lesson #163: Multiple Comparisons Fallacy

(Also Known As: the look-elsewhere effect) Description: In inductive arguments, there is always a chance that the conclusion might be false, despite the truth of the premises.  This is often referred to as “confidence level”.&. . .

Lesson #164: Naturalistic Fallacy

(also known as: is-ought fallacy, arguing from is to ought, is-should fallacy) Description: When the conclusion expresses what ought to be, based only on what is, or what ought not to be, based on what is not. This is very common, and most peo. . .

Lesson #165: Negating Antecedent and Consequent

(also known as: improper transposition) New Terminology: Transposition (contraposition): In a syllogism, taking the antecedent and consequent in the first premise, then “transposing” them in the second premise, and negating each ter. . .

Lesson #166: Negative Conclusion from Affirmative Premises

(also known as: illicit affirmative) Description: The conclusion of a standard form categorical syllogism is negative, but both of the premises are positive.  Any valid forms of categorical syllogisms that assert a negative conclusion must . . .

Lesson #167: Nirvana Fallacy

(also known as: perfect solution fallacy, perfectionist fallacy) Description: Comparing a realistic solution with an idealized one, and dismissing or even discounting the realistic solution as a result of comparing to a “perfect world&rdqu. . .

Lesson #168: No True Scotsman

(also known as: appeal to purity [form of], no true Christian) Description: When a universal (“all”, “every”, etc.) claim is refuted, rather than conceding the point or meaningfully revising the claim, the claim is altere. . .

Lesson #169: Non Sequitur

(also known as: derailment, “that does not follow”, irrelevant reason, invalid inference, non-support, argument by scenario [form of], false premise [form of], questionable premise [form of], non-sequitur) Description: When the concl. . .

Lesson #170: Notable Effort

(also known as: “E” is for effort) Description: Accepting good effort as a valid reason to accept the truth of the conclusion, even though the effort is unrelated to the truth. Logical Form: Person 1 made a notable effort to prov. . .

Lesson #171: Overextended Outrage

(also known as: overextended moral outrage, overextended political outrage) Description: This is a form of poor statistical thinking where one or more statistically rare cases are implied to be the norm or the trend (without evidence) for the pur. . .

Lesson #172: Oversimplified Cause Fallacy

Description: When a contributing factor is assumed to be the cause, or when a complex array of causal factors is reduced to a single cause. It is a form of simplistic thinking that implies something is either a cause, or it is not. It overlooks t. . .

Lesson #173: Overwhelming Exception

Description: A generalization that is technically accurate, but has one or more qualifications which eliminate so many cases that the resulting argument is significantly weaker than the arguer implies.  In many cases, the listed exceptions a. . .

Lesson #174: Package-Deal Fallacy

(also known as: false conjunction) Description: Assuming things that are often grouped together must always be grouped together, or the assumption that the ungrouping will have significantly more severe effects than anticipated. Logical Form: . . .

Lesson #175: Poisoning the Well

(also known as: discrediting, smear tactics) Description: To commit a preemptive ad hominem attack against an opponent.  That is, to prime the audience with adverse information about the opponent from the start, in an attempt to make your. . .

Lesson #176: Political Correctness Fallacy

(also known as: PC fallacy) Description: This is a common one in recent history.  It is the assumption or admission that two or more groups, individuals, or ideas of groups or individuals, are equal, of equal value, or both true, based on t. . .

Lesson #177: Post-Designation

(also known as: fishing for data) Description: Drawing a conclusion from correlations observed in a given sample, but only after the sample has already been drawn, and without declaring in advance what correlations the experimenter was expecting. . .

Lesson #178: Prejudicial Language

(also known as: variant imagization) Description: Loaded or emotive terms used to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition. Logical Form: Claim A is made using loaded or emotive terms. Therefore, claim A is true. Exampl. . .

Lesson #179: Proof by Intimidation

argumentum verbosium (also known as: proof by verbosity, fallacy of intimidation) Description: Making an argument purposely difficult to understand in an attempt to intimidate your audience into accepting it, or accepting an argument without ev. . .

Lesson #180: Proof Surrogate

Description: A claim masquerading as proof or evidence, when no such proof or evidence is actually being offered. Logical Form: Claim X is made. Claim X is expressed in such a way where no evidence is forthcoming, or no requests for evidence . . .

Lesson #181: Proving Non-Existence

Description: Demanding that one proves the non-existence of something in place of providing adequate evidence for the existence of that something.  Although it may be possible to prove non-existence in special situations, such as showing tha. . .

Lesson #182: Psychogenetic Fallacy

Description: Inferring some psychological reason why an argument is made then assuming it is invalid, as a result. Logical Form: Person 1 makes argument X. Person 1 made argument X because of the psychological reason Y. Therefore, X is not t. . .

Lesson #183: Quantifier-Shift Fallacy

(also known as: illicit quantifier shift) Description: A fallacy of reversing the order of two quantifiers. Logical Form: Every X has a related Y. Therefore, there is some Y related to every X. Example #1: Everybody has a mother. There. . .

Lesson #184: Quantum Physics Fallacy

Description: Using quantum physics in an attempt to support your claim, when in no way is your claim related to quantum physics.  One can also use the weirdness of the principles of quantum physics to cast doubt on the well-established laws . . .

Lesson #185: Questionable Cause

cum hoc ergo propter hoc (also known as: butterfly logic, ignoring a common cause, neglecting a common cause, confusing correlation and causation, confusing cause and effect, false cause, third cause, third-cause fallacy, juxtaposition [form . . .

Lesson #186: Rationalization

(also known as: making excuses) Description: Offering false or inauthentic excuses for our claim because we know the real reasons are much less persuasive or more embarrassing to share, or harsher than the manufactured ones given. Logical Form. . .

Lesson #187: Red Herring

Ignoratio elenchi (also known as: beside the point, misdirection [form of], changing the subject, false emphasis, the Chewbacca defense, irrelevant conclusion, irrelevant thesis, clouding the issue, ignorance of refutation) Description: Attempt. . .

Lesson #188: Reductio ad Absurdum

reductio ad absurdum (also known as: reduce to absurdity) Description: A mode of argumentation or a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd conclusion.  Arguments that use u. . .

Lesson #189: Reductio ad Hitlerum

reductio ad hitlerum (also known as: argumentum ad Hitlerum, playing the Nazi card, Hitler card) Description: The attempt to make an argument analogous with Hitler or the Nazi party.  Hitler is probably the most universally despised figure. . .

Lesson #190: Regression Fallacy

(also known as: regressive fallacy) Description: Ascribing a cause where none exists in situations where natural fluctuations exist while failing to account for these natural fluctuations. Logical Form: A occurred after B (although B natural. . .

Lesson #191: Reification

(also known as: abstraction, concretism, fallacy of misplaced concreteness, hypostatisation) Description : When an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity -- w. . .

Lesson #192: Relative Privation

(also known as: it could be worse, it could be better) Description: Trying to make a scenario appear better or worse by comparing it to the best or worst case scenario. Logical Forms: Scenario S is presented. Scenario B is presented as a be. . .

Lesson #193: Retrogressive Causation

Description: Invoking the cause to eliminate the effect, or calling on the source to relieve the effect of the source. Logical Form: X causes/is the source of Y. In order to eliminate or relieve Y, do more of X. Example #1: Jen: Don&rsqu. . .

Lesson #194: Righteousness Fallacy

Description: Assuming that just because a person's intentions are good, they have the truth or facts on their side. Also see self-righteousness fallacy . Logical Form: Person 1 made claim X. Person 1 has good intentions. Therefore, X is tru. . .

Lesson #195: Rights To Ought Fallacy

(also known as: constitutional rights fallacy) Description: When one gives a reason for one's rights (constitutional or other) with what one should do.  This is common among staunch defenders of "rights" who fail to see that rights are no. . .

Lesson #196: Scapegoating

Description: Unfairly blaming an unpopular person or group of people for a problem or a person or group that is an easy target for such blame. Logical Form: Nobody likes or cares about X. Therefore, X is to blame for Y. Example #1: I kno. . .

Lesson #197: Self-Righteousness Fallacy

Description: Assuming that just because your intentions are good, you have the truth or facts on your side. Also see righteousness fallacy . Logical Form: You make claim X. You have good intentions. Therefore, X is true. Example #1: Ric. . .

Lesson #198: Selective Attention

Description: Focusing your attention on certain aspects of the argument while completely ignoring or missing other parts.  This usually results in irrelevant rebuttals, strawman fallacies , and unnecessarily drawn-out arguments. Example #. . .

Lesson #199: Self-Sealing Argument

(also known as: vacuous argument) Description: An argument or position is self-sealing if and only if no evidence can be brought against it no matter what. Example #1: Wherever you go, there you are. Explanation: You can’t argue aga. . .

Lesson #200: Shifting of the Burden of Proof

onus probandi (also known as: burden of proof [general concept], burden of proof fallacy, misplaced burden of proof, shifting the burden of proof) Description: Making a claim that needs justification, then demanding that the opponent justifies t. . .

Lesson #201: Shoehorning

Description: The process of force-fitting some current affair into one's personal, political, or religious agenda.  Many people aren't aware of how easy it is to make something look like confirmation of a claim after the fact, especially if . . .

Lesson #202: Slippery Slope

(also known as absurd extrapolation, thin edge of the wedge, camel's nose, domino fallacy) Description : When a relatively insignificant first event is suggested to lead to a more significant event, which in turn leads to a more significant e. . .

Lesson #203: Special Pleading

Description: Applying standards, principles, and/or rules to other people or circumstances, while making oneself or certain circumstances exempt from the same critical criteria, without providing adequate justification.  Special pleading is . . .

Lesson #204: Spiritual Fallacy

(also known as: spiritual excuse) Description: Insisting that something meant to be literal is actually “spiritual” as an explanation or justification for something that otherwise would not fit in an explanation. Logical Form: X . . .

Lesson #205: Spin Doctoring

(also known as: spinning) Description: Presenting information in a deceptive way that results in others interpreting the information in such a way that does not reflect reality but is how you want the information to be interpreted. Logical Form. . .

Lesson #206: Spotlight Fallacy

Description: Assuming that the media’s coverage of a certain class or category is representative of the class or category in whole. Logical Form: The media have been covering X quite a bit by describing it as Y. Therefore, X can be des. . .

Lesson #207: Statement of Conversion

Description: Taking a statement of conversion as valid without actually hearing a reason for the conversion. Logical Form: I used to believe in X. Therefore, X is wrong. Example #1: I used to be a Christian, now I know better. Explanat. . .

Lesson #208: Stereotyping

Description: The general beliefs that we use to categorize people, objects, and events while assuming those beliefs are accurate generalizations of the whole group. Logical Form: All X’s have the property Y (this being a characterizatio. . .

Lesson #209: Stolen Concept Fallacy

Description: Requiring the truth of the something that you are simultaneously trying to disprove. Example #1: Reason and logic are not always reliable, so we should not count on it to help us find truth. Explanation: Here we are using reas. . .

Lesson #210: Strawman Fallacy

Description: Substituting a person’s actual position or argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position of the argument. Logical Form: Person 1 makes claim Y. Person 2 restates person 1’s claim (. . .

Lesson #211: Style Over Substance

(also known as: argument by slogan [form of], cliché thinking - or thought-terminating cliché, argument by rhyme [form of], argument by poetic language [form of]) Description: When the arguer embellishes the argument with compellin. . .

Lesson #212: Subjectivist Fallacy

(also known as: relativist fallacy) Description: Claiming something is true for one person, but not for someone else when, in fact, it is true for everyone (objective) as demonstrated by empirical evidence. Logical Form: Person 1 claims that. . .

Lesson #213: Subverted Support

Description: The attempt to explain some phenomenon that does not actually occur or there is no evidence that it does.  It is a form of  begging the question . Logical Form: X happens because of Y (when X doesn’t really eve. . .

Lesson #214: Sunk-Cost Fallacy

(also known as: argument from inertia, concorde fallacy, finish the job fallacy) Description: Reasoning that further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration th. . .

Lesson #215: Suppressed Correlative

(also known as: fallacy of lost contrast, fallacy of the suppressed relative) Description: The attempt to redefine a correlative (one of two mutually exclusive options) so that one alternative encompasses the other, i.e. making one alternative. . .

Lesson #216: Survivorship Fallacy

(also known as: survivorship bias) Description:  This is best summed up as "dead men don't tell tales." In its general form, the survivorship fallacy is basing a conclusion on a limited number of "winner" testimonies due to the fact we cannot. . .

Lesson #217: Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

(also known as: clustering illusion) Description: Ignoring the difference while focusing on the similarities, thus coming to an inaccurate conclusion.  Similar to the  gambler’s fallacy , this is an example of inserting meaning . . .

Lesson #218: Tokenism

Description: Interpreting a token gesture as an adequate substitute for the real thing. Example #1: The presidential nominee has been accused of being racist.  But he recently stated that he really liked the movie, “Roots,” s. . .

Lesson #219: Traitorous Critic Fallacy

ergo decedo Description: Responding to criticism by attacking a person's perceived favorability to an out-group or dislike to the in-group as the underlying reason for the criticism rather than addressing the criticism itself, and suggesting that. . .

Lesson #220: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Description: When a person attempts to justify an action against another person because the other person did take or would take the same action against him or her. Logical Forms: Person 1 did X to person 2. Therefore, person 2 is justified t. . .

Lesson #221: Type-Token Fallacy

Description: The type-token fallacy is committed when a word can refer to either a type (representing an abstract descriptive concept) or a token (representing an object that instantiates a concept) is used in a way that makes it unclear which it . . .

Lesson #222: Unfalsifiability

(also known as: untestability) Description: Confidently asserting that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though the theory or hypothesis cannot possibly be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of any physical experiment, usua. . .

Lesson #223: Unwarranted Contrast

(also known as: some are/some are not) Description: Assuming that implicature means implication , when it logically does not.  Implicature is a relation between the fact that someone makes a statement and a proposition.  Implicat. . .

Lesson #224: Use-Mention Error

(also known as: UME) Description:   Confusing the word used to describe a thing, with the thing itself.  To avoid this error, it is customary to put the word used to describe the thing in quotes. This fallacy is most common when used a. . .

Lesson #225: Weak Analogy

(also known as: bad analogy, false analogy, faulty analogy, questionable analogy, argument from spurious similarity, false metaphor) Description: When an analogy is used to prove or disprove an argument, but the analogy is too dissimilar to be e. . .

Lesson #226: Willed Ignorance

Description: Refusing to change one’s mind or consider conflicting information based on a desire to maintain one's existing beliefs. Logical Form: I believe X. You have evidence for Y. I don’t want to see it because I don't want. . .

Lesson #227: Wishful Thinking

Description: When the desire for something to be true is used in place of/or as evidence for the truthfulness of the claim.  Wishful thinking, more as a cognitive bias than a logical fallacy, can also cause one to evaluate evidence very diff. . .

Lesson #228: Pseudo-Logical Fallacies

Recall my test for what qualifies as a logical fallacy: It must be an error in reasoning, not a factual error. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or the interpretation of the argument. It mu. . .

Lesson #229: Absence of Evidence

This is the idea that based on an absence of evidence, we can form a reasonable conclusion. Sometimes we can if we expect to see evidence and we don’t. This is a complex topic in epistemology and too nuanced to call simply label a fallacy. Se. . .

Lesson #230: Alternative Fact/Alternative Truth

Another word for “fiction” or “lie.” This is more about lying than errors in reasoning. Perhaps it might qualify as fallacious reasoning if a person believes that alternative facts are the same things as facts.

Lesson #231: Appeal to Convenience

Accepting an argument because its conclusion is convenient, not necessarily true. This fallacy is not common enough. This falls under appeal to consequences , which is very similar except that consequences could be positive or negative and conveni. . .

Lesson #232: Appeal to Envy (Argumentum ad invidiam)

Attempting to persuade by making one envious, rather than by evidence. This fallacy is not common enough, plus, as a deliberate persuasion technique, there is no error in reasoning on the part of the arguer.

Lesson #233: Appeal to Mystery

The argument proposes, in place of an explanation, the assertion that there can be no explanation, i.e. that the fact to be explained is unexplainable. I don’t see this as an error in reasoning because there is no claim that because of the my. . .

Lesson #234: Appeal to Privacy

Refusing to open a topic for discussion because it is deemed “private,” thus by default acceptable. Sometimes referred to as the Mind Your Own Business Fallacy . I don’t see an error in reasoning here. If a topic is personal or p. . .

Lesson #235: Appeal to Snobbery

An attempt to make one feel part of the elite if they accept the claim. This is more of a marketing/persuasion technique than a fallacy. It is rarely used in argument form, but more to get someone to want something.

Lesson #236: Appeal to the Stone (argumentum ad lapidem)

This is dismissing a claim as absurd without demonstrating proof for its absurdity. This is a classic example of simply not giving a clear reason for rejecting an argument or proposition. It is not an error in reasoning; it is the refusal to use it. . .

Lesson #237: Argument by Dismissal

An argument is rejected without saying why. The person who is rejecting the argument may have a good reason; they just refuse to share it. So we cannot assume that this is an error in reasoning. It could better be described as a conscious choice no. . .

Lesson #238: Argument by Laziness

Making an argument without bothering collecting support for the claims being made. Laziness implies that the person knows they should be collecting support for their claims, so it is not a problem with reasoning.

Lesson #239: Argument by Rhetorical Question

Setting up questions in such a way to get the answers you want. This is a name for an argumentation strategy covered by both the loaded question and leading question fallacies.

Lesson #240: Argument from Design

Assuming because something looks designed, it probably was. This is more of an argument than a fallacy since it stems more from a lack of knowledge (i.e., evolution, natural selection, emergence, etc.) than reason.

Lesson #241: Argument from Final Consequences

Confusing cause and effect, starting with an effect and then assuming a cause. This is rarely used and is covered by the questionable cause fallacy (cum hoc ergo propter hoc).

Lesson #242: Argument to the Future

Arguing that someday, evidence will be discovered to justify your conclusion. This could be fallacious or not, depending on the reasons that one has to think that evidence will one day be discovered to justify the conclusion. If one has no reasons,. . .

Lesson #243: Argumentum ad Captandum

Any specious or unsound argument that is likely to win popular acceptance. This is general style of rhetoric rather than a specific fallacy.

Lesson #244: Argumentum ad Exemplum (Argument to the Example)

Arguing against a particular example cited rather than the question itself. This is rarely used, and when it is, it is used in different ways that match other fallacies.

Lesson #245: Bad Seed

Attempting to undermine someone’s reasoning or argument by pointing our their “bad” family history, when it is an irrelevant point. This is a very specific form of the genetic fallacy . It is rarely used.

Lesson #246: Barking Cat

Demanding that a problem should not be solved before other, more important problems are solved. As long as one has good reasons for this, there is no fallacy.

Lesson #247: Blood is Thicker than Water (Favoritism)

Assuming truth because of a close connection with the one making the statement. This is not quite an error in reasoning. If anything, it is a natural bias where we tend to give those we like the benefit of the doubt.

Lesson #248: Bribery (Material Persuasion, Material Incentive, Financial Incentive)

Paying someone to agree with your position, or accepting payment to agree. This is not an error in reasoning.

Lesson #249: Chronological Snobbery

Thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present. This is more of bias, and when used in argument form, is covered by the appeal to novelty or argument from age .

Lesson #250: Confesses Under Torture

Assuming what one confesses under torture must be true. It is difficult to determine how much the torture affected the truth of the confession. This is not an error in reasoning.

Lesson #251: Damning with Faint Praise

To attack a person by formally praising him, but for an achievement that shouldn’t be praised. This is more of a rhetorical device than a fallacy.

Lesson #252: Digression

A temporary departure from the main subject in speech or writing. This is not fallacious in itself.

Lesson #253: Disregarding Known Science

Ignoring scientific facts that are inconvenient to a position. This is better characterized as a cognitive bias or perhaps even a form of lying.

Lesson #254: Dogmatism

The tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others. This is a broad pattern of thinking, rather than a more specific error in reasoning. There are many already mentioned fallaci. . .

Lesson #255: Double Bind

Setting up a situation in which no matter what the person does or answers, he or she is wrong. This is relatively rare.

Lesson #256: Double Counting

Counting events or occurrences in probability or in other areas where a solution counts events two or more times, resulting in an erroneous number of events or occurrences which is higher than the true result. This is a specific statistical fallacy. . .

Lesson #257: Essentializing Fallacy

Suggesting that something is what it is and it will always be that way when in fact, that is not the case. This is simply factually incorrect.

Lesson #258: Exception That Proves the Rule

Exceptions to rules are evidence against rule, never for the rules. This is quite rare.

Lesson #259: Failure to State

Never actually stating a position on the topic, rather constantly being on the attack or asking questions. This protects the person from attack. This is not really an error in reasoning. One can argue against a bad argument without having to hold a. . .

Lesson #260: Fallacy of Multiplication

The assumption that if work Y can be accomplished with N resources, that if N*X resources were available, then work Y*X could be accomplished. This is a statistical error.

Lesson #261: Fallacy of the Crucial Experiment

Claiming some idea has been proved by a pivotal discovery. This is too subjective. What is “pivotal” to one person might not be to another. Also, something could be “pivotal” in one of many ways.

Lesson #262: Faulty Sign

Incorrectly assumes that one event or phenomenon is a reliable indicator or predictor of another event or phenomenon. This is very similar to many of the fallacies related to causality. This name is rarely used.

Lesson #263: Furtive Fallacy

When outcomes are asserted to have been caused by the malfeasance of decision makers. This is very rare.

Lesson #264: God Wildcard Fallacy

Excuses a contradiction in logic or reason by “divine mystery.”   The God wildcard comes in many forms and is played when honest questioning leads to absurd or illogical conclusions. This is very specific form of the appeal to my. . .

Lesson #265: Golden Hammer Fallacy

Proposing the same type of solution to different types of problems. This is more of an error in creativity or knowledge than reasoning.

Lesson #266: Hifalutin’ Denunciations

Denouncing an argument or opponent with vague, pretentious, and grand-sounding generalized accusations. This is more of a type of rhetoric than a fallacy.

Lesson #267: Historical Fallacy

A logical fallacy originally described by philosopher John Dewey in The Psychological Review in 1896. The fallacy occurs when a person reads into a process the results that occur only because of that process. This is rarely used.

Lesson #268: Hoyle’s Fallacy (the Junkyard Tornado)

An argument used to derive the probability of both abiogenesis and the evolution of higher life forms as comparable to “the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747.” The “fallacy” is an . . .

Lesson #269: I Wish I Had a Magic Wand

Erroneously proclaiming oneself powerless to change a bad or objectionable situation, thinking there is no alternative. Not an error in reasoning.

Lesson #270: In a Certain Respect and Simply (secundum quid et simpliciter)

Take an attribute that is bound to a certain area and assume that it can be applied to a wider domain than was originally intended. Rarely used.

Lesson #271: Insignificance

Making a minor cause seem major. Not really a fallacy.

Lesson #272: Intentional Fallacy

A term used in 20th-century literary criticism to describe the problem inherent in trying to judge a work of art by assuming the intent or purpose of the artist who created it. This is a very specific fallacy and not common.

Lesson #273: Knights and Knaves

Treating information coming from other persons as if it were always right or always wrong, based on the person. This is very similar to the genetic fallacy .

Lesson #274: Lack of Proportion

Exaggerating or downplaying evidence important in the argument. Extreme cases could actually be a form of suppressed evidence. This is more of a form of deception where a lack of reasoning cannot be blamed.

Lesson #275: Latino Fallacy

Finding an argument, fallacy, or claim that has a Latin translation more credible than it would be without the translation. This is a specific form of the argument from age .

Lesson #276: Lip Service

Pretending to agree when it’s clear that you don’t really agree. This is more of a form of deception where a lack of reasoning cannot be blamed.

Lesson #277: Lump of Labor Fallacy (Lump of Jobs Fallacy)

The contention that the amount of work available to laborers is fixed. This can be debatable, depending on the economist asked. This is not a problem with reasoning.

Lesson #278: Mind Projection Fallacy

Coined by physicist and Bayesian philosopher E.T. Jaynes, the mind projection fallacy occurs when one believes with certainty that the way he sees the world reflects the way the world really is. This is more of a cognitive bias than a fallacy.

Lesson #279: Monopolizing the Question

Asking a question and then immediately giving the answer, in a way “forcing” your answer on the audience. This is more of a rhetorical device than a fallacy.

Lesson #280: Needling

Attempting to make the other person angry, especially by continual criticism or questioning. In previous editions, I had this listed as a form of the ad hominem fallacy. However, it is more of a tactic and not an error in reasoning.

Lesson #281: Norm of Reciprocity

A technique used to exploit people’s natural tendency to want to repay debts. In an argument, one may concede a point causing an unwarranted concession from the other side, out of the desire to repay the favor. This is more of a technique tha. . .

Lesson #282: Not Invented Here

Ideas and arguments are not evaluated equally if they come from outside a social sphere. This is a specific form of the genetic fallacy .

Lesson #283: Outdated Information

If outdated information is used in an argument, it would technically be more of an error in the truth of the premises than in reason, but be aware of this when doing your fact checking.

Lesson #284: Over-Fitting

When a statistical model describes random error or noise instead of the underlying relationship. This is specific to statistics.

Lesson #285: Packing the House

Filling the audience with friends, shills, or others who will cheer incessantly after you speak or make an argument, badger your opponent, and otherwise make for an unfair environment that will make your arguments appear much stronger and your oppo. . .

Lesson #286: Paralogism

Can generally refer to any fallacious or illogical argument. Not a fallacy in itself.

Lesson #287: Paralysis of Analysis (Procrastination)

Reasoning that since all data is never in, no legitimate decision can ever be made and any action should always be delayed until forced by circumstances. Not necessarily fallacious.

Lesson #288: Pigeonholing

A term used to describe processes that attempt to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories. This usually covers a wide variety of more specific fallacies.

Lesson #289: Pious Fraud

A fraud done for a good end, on the theory that the end justifies the means. Not necessarily fallacious.

Lesson #290: Probabilistic Fallacy

When inferences from the premises to the conclusion violate the laws of probability. This is rarely seen in everyday usage.

Lesson #291: Psychologist’s Fallacy

A fallacy that occurs when an observer presupposes the universality of his or her own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event. This is rarely seen in everyday usage. Also, since the time of William James (the psychologist who first described . . .

Lesson #292: Reductionism

This is more of a philosophy than a fallacy, although those who don’t subscribe to the philosophy will often refer to it as a fallacy. It is reducing things to the interaction of their parts. For example, if one claims we are just biochemistr. . .

Lesson #293: Referential Fallacy

A theory of language that claims that the meaning of a word or expression lies in what it points to out in the world. This is rarely seen in everyday usage.

Lesson #294: Retrospective Determinism

Assuming that because something happened, it necessarily had to happen, i.e. that it was the only possible outcome. Irrespective of a deterministic worldview, this fallacy explains nothing.

Lesson #295: Sanctioning the Devil

Avoiding debate with someone because debating him would give him undue credit. Really not a fallacy, but can be considered one by the flat-earther you are refusing to debate.

Lesson #296: Scope Fallacy

There are many specific fallacies detailed in this book that fit the under the category of “scope fallacy.” These have to do mostly with ambiguity.

Lesson #297: Sealioning

A subtle form of trolling involving “bad-faith” questions. You disingenuously frame your conversation as a sincere request to be enlightened, placing the burden of educating you entirely on the other party. This is not a fallacy; it is . . .

Lesson #298: Self-Deception

The process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. This is more of a cognitive process that underlies fallacies.

Lesson #299: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The process of prophesying will itself produce the effect that is prophesied, but the reasoner doesn’t recognize this and believes the prophecy is a significant insight. This is not commonly applied to an argument.

Lesson #300: Sherlock Holmes Fallacy

Remember that Sherlock Homes was a fictional character, even if based on a real one. His method of deduction was often stated as “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” There a. . .

Lesson #301: Sly Suggestions

Suggesting that your ideas may be true without making solid statements that can be proven wrong. “You may be our next millionaire! Just subscribe to this service and you will find out if you are or not.” This is a marketing gimmick, not. . .

Lesson #302: Sour Grapes

Denigrating something just because you can’t have it. “Your new Lamborghini is okay, but the seats are too low to the ground. I prefer my Chevy.” Not commonly used within argumentation.

Lesson #303: Snow Job

There are several uses of this phrase: 1) “Proving” a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they cannot be expected to understand. 2) A strong effort to make. . .

Lesson #304: Syllogistic Fallacy

This is a general category of formal fallacies that occur in syllogisms.

Lesson #305: Taboo

Refusing to examine critically a belief or argument because it’s not acceptable to do so, for whatever reason. This is the refusal to reason.

Lesson #306: Tautology

Using different words to say the same thing, even if the repetition does not provide clarity. Tautology can also refer to a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because the statements depend on the assumption that they are. . .

Lesson #307: Testimonials

Statements from, “authorities,” in the sense that they are said to know about what they are testifying. In business, vendor-provided testimonials should not be taken too seriously as they can easily be exceptions to the norm or just mad. . .

Lesson #308: There Is No Alternative

Discouraging critical thought by announcing that there is no realistic alternative to a given standpoint, status or action, ruling any and all other options irrelevant, or announcing that a decision has been made, and any further discussion is simp. . .

Lesson #309: Too Broad

The definition includes items which should not be included. This is more of an error of fact than reason.

Lesson #310: Too Narrow

The definition does not include all the items which should be included. This is more of an error of fact than reason.

Lesson #311: Vacuous truth

In mathematics and logic, a vacuous truth is a statement that asserts that all members of the empty set have a certain property. This is beyond the scope of fallacies.

Lesson #312: Undoability

Claiming something is not possible rather than you (or someone else) cannot do it. This is very similar to the argument from ignorance .

Lesson #313: Weasel Wording

Using ambiguous words in order to mislead or conceal a truth: “Save up to 50% or more!” This is more of a marketing gimmick than a fallacy.

Lesson #314: Word Magic

Assuming just because there is a word for it, it must exist. This is questionable as a deceptive argument. For example, there is the word “unicorn” but most people aren’t tricked into thinking they must exist because of the word. . . .

About Your Instructor

Bo Bennett, PhD. Bo Bennett's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime." Much of his work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think. His projects include his books, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies, and Year To Success, a full year course in success. Bo has a podcast/blog called "The Dr. Bo Show" at http://www.TheDrBoShow.com where he takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining.

Bo holds a PhD in social psychology, with a master's degree in general psychology and bachelor's degree in marketing. His complete bio along with current projects can be found at BoBennett.com.

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