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Flashcards in Informal Fallacies Deck (13)
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Old man Brown claims that he saw a flying saucer in his farm, but he never got beyond the fourth grade in school and can hardly read or write. He is completely ignorant of what scientists have written on the subject, so his report cannot possibly be true.

Ad hominem - Old man Brown’s lack of schooling beyond the fourth grade does may not render him incapable of spotting flying saucers. This is an attack on his character


My client is an integral part of this community. If he is sent to prison not only will this city suffer but also he will be most missed by his family. You surely cannot find it in your hearts to reach any other verdict than "not guilty."

Appeal to pity - Being missed by his family is not a good enough reason to remove a jail sentence.


You ought to try to study harder in school this year, Samuel, because it will spare your parents the embarrassment of a letter from the instructor telling them you're not taking your school work seriously.

Appeal to force - There are better reasons for Samuel to study than simply the threat of embarrassment.


You will back up my story and tell the committee I am reasoning logically; because if you don't I will do everything in my power to see that you are fired.

Appeal to force - The arguer’s opponent must do as he is told, even if it’s wrong, or face the consequences.


Congress shouldn't bother to consult major universities about educational appropriations. As members of educational establishment, they will naturally want as much money for education as they think they can get.

Ad-hominem - Congress is labeled as prejudiced because they have a foothold in education.


John has really worked hard on his term project, and he will really be depressed if he does not make an A. For these reasons, you just have to give him an A on his project.

Appeal to pity - The arguer is saying John should get an A because he would otherwise be depressed.


It should be no surprise to you that if a Republican is elected in the next presidential election that we will have one of the worst recessions in years. Recessions always seem to be created by Republican administrations.

Genetic fallacy - The arguer assumes that recessions are always associated with Republicans.


As I walked to the library from the Learning Center not one person spoke to me. Lander University is not as friendly as I was led to believe.

Non sequitur - It is illogical to draw the conclusion that Lander University as a whole is not a friendly place because of one walk to the Learning Center without human interaction.


I don't care what your arguments are; you are using Mickey Mouse tactics. The arguments you give are simply tacky.

Ad hominem - name calling


Everyone says that a logic course is easier than a math course, so it must be.

Nose counting/bandwagon - The arguer assumes a logic class is easier than a math class based on popular opinion


Many say it is morally wrong to cheat on your spouse. But what is morality? Who writes the moral code and has the authority to define right and wrong?

Red herring - The rabbit trail onto the relativist musings about morality are a distraction from the main argument about cheating on one’s spouse.


You say you want to protect the rights of the unborn. But you support strengthening the military. Doesn’t warfare also kill the born and the unborn?

Red herring - The arguer veers away from the pro-life debate to start another debate about war.


You don’t believe in God. So I guess you think we all just arrived here by chance and evolved from primordial ooze. That’s ridiculous!

Strawman fallacy - The arguer assumed that his opponent’s admission to not believing in God meant that he believed in chance and evolution. The arguer attacked his own assumption and declared victory.