Mastering Logical Fallacies - Michael Withey

Ad Hominems

  1. Abusive - claim someone to be a bigot/racist etc to discredit their argument
  2. Circumstantial - claim a circumstance to discredit their argument ie discrediting someone because "they are just saying that to get permission"
  3. Guilt by association - discredit an argument due to affiliation
  4. Tu quoque - discrediting an argument becaues the proponent engages in such an act. Ie someone might be a hypocrite for smoking and saying it is bad, but their argument is still valid.

Other fallacies

  • Affirming the consequent: "If I had a deadly disease, I would have a cough. I have a cough, therefore I have a deadly disease."
  • Ambiguity: "A is B, A is C, so B is C."
  • Anonymous Authority: confirmation by someone who may not be an expert.
  • Appeal to anger: appeals to the anger of the audience
  • Appeal to authority: does not offer direct evidence for argument P, but an appeal to the testimony of an authority.
  • Appeal to celebrity
  • Appeal to common belief
  • Appeal to desperation: demanding an action to be performed to resolve a situation, regardless of whether the proposed action will in fact resolve the situation
  • Appeal to emotion: appeals to the emotions of the audience
  • Appeal to faith
  • Appeal to fear: playing off the audience's fear
  • Appeal to heaven
  • Appeal to the moon
  • Appeal to nature: fallacy based on suggesting things are unnatural and therefore not valid
  • Appeal to normality
  • Appeal to pity
  • Appeal to possibility
  • Appeal to ridicule
  • Appeal to tradition: claiming reasoning through traditional means
  • Argument from ignorance: The argument and assumption that something is false due to a lack of evidence that it is true
  • Base rate: information regarding probability is ignore when estimating how likely it is to occur in a particular case
  • Begging the question: An argument based on the truth of its conclusion. "People are always self-intested. Whenever speaking on welfare, they are for their own good. Hence, we see peope are always self-interested.
  • Biased sample
  • Blind authority: argument based on thing's like what a cult leader has suggested.
  • Cherry-picking: Ignoring or choosing specific evidence to help the proponent's argument.
  • Circular reasoning: arguing for a conclusion on the basic of a set of premises, where the truth of those premises assumes the truth of the conclusion.
  • Complex question: Posing a question that contains a complex presupposition. While not stated, it is required for the question to make sense. Ie "have you stopped beating your wife?"
  • Equivocation: think LOTR "no man can kill me", "I am no man".
  • Fake precision: "70% of stats you read in books are just made up by the author"
  • Fallacy of Composition
  • Fallacy of Division
  • False Analogy: A is C, B is C, A is P. Therefore B is P.
  • False Dilemma: given that there is limited options, when in fact, there are more.
  • Hasty Generalisation: A small sample has property X, therefore all have property X.
  • Just Because: A propenent argues because it is his proposition.
  • Lucid Fallacy: Argument based on circumstantial, specific parameters.
  • Lying with Stats
  • Magical Thinking: Debate based on the supernatural.
  • Moralistic Fallcy. P ought to be the case, therefore P.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Raising or lowering the standard of proof required for an argument after an argument has been provided.
  • Multiple Comparisons Fallcy: Drawing significant statistical inferences from any positive or negative results gleaned from tests conduted on a multiplicity of groups or criteria.
  • Naturalistic Fallacy: P is natural, therefore P ought to be done.
  • Nirvana Fallacy: Something on the grounds that it does not resolve the problem completely.
  • Non Sequitur: When one statement is presented as following from another, while it logically does not exist.
  • Proving Nonexistence: Proof on that grounds that proving it's nonexistence cannot be proven.
  • Red Herring: Attempting to derail an argument by bringing in considerations that are irrelevant or out-of-context.
  • Reductio Ad Absurdum: Refuting an argument by drawing out allegedly absurd consequences from the argument.
  • Reuctio Ad Hitlerum: Dismissing the opponent's grounds on the basis that an evil figure believed in it.
  • Self-Sealing Argument: An argument presented in a way that is irrefutable.
  • Shoehorning: When a contributor derails an argument by discussing his own favoured topic.
  • Slippery Slope: Prediciting horrific consequences will follow seemingly innocuous action.
  • Special Pleading: Establishing a general rule for the debate but pleading for an exception for a particular circumstance.
  • Spiritual Fallacy: an argument based on "enlightenment"
  • Straw Man Argument: Misrepresenting your opponent's argument, and taking this attack to refute your opponent's real position.
  • Sunk Cost: A reluctance to let go of an initial investment, so you continue investing.
  • Unfalsifiability: A substantive proposition expressed in such a way that it becomes, in principle, impossible to raise a counter-example to it.
  • Use-Mention Error: Confusing the discussion of the word itself with discussig the concept the word denotes.