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Fallacies of Argumentation

By Dr Art Lynch

We are bombarded daily with messages, many of them flawed.

We make decisions often many times an hour based in incomplete or assumed information.

For society to advance, and for our own best interests, it is important we understand the forces and elements that impact our decision making. Among these are the fallacies of argumentation below:

Fallacies

•An error in reasoning
•Neutral in ethics
•Dangerous to use
•Used heavily in marketing and politics with mixed ethical motivations

Red Herring

•A fallacy that introduces
•Irrelevant issues
•To divert attention from the subject under discussion

Ad Hominem

•Definition:
•To make human,
•A fallacy that attacks the person rather than dealing with the real issue
•To divert attention through personal attack.

False Dichotomy

•Either-or
•A fallacy that forces listeners
•To choose between two alternatives
•When more than two alternatives exits.
•Can divert from actual alternative or cause.
•Polarizes audience
•Used to solidify “right and wrong”,
•“for or against.”

Bandwagon

•A fallacy that assumes that because something is popular it is therefore good.
Group think
Mob mentality

Slippery Slope

•A fallacy that assumes that taking a first step will lead to subsequent steps that cannot be prevented.
•False assumption that if this happens than there is a 100% certainty that a series of subsequent event will occur.

Hasty Generalization

•Jumping from specific to general
On the basis of insufficient evidence
•False assumption that if a specific events cause is true, than all similar events must have the same or similar causes.

Invalid Analogy

•An analogy in which the two cases being compared are not essentially alike
•Making parallels between things that may not be parallel or alike

False Cause

•Assuming that if one event follows another, there must be a cause and effect.
•“Post hoc”, “Ergo proper hoc”
•“After this, therefore because of this.”
•Jumping to the conclusion of cause without proper evidence of a causal effect.