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Flashcards in Logical Fallacies Deck (12)
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Slippery Slope

This is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C,..., X, Y, Z will happen, too, basically equating A and Z. So, if we don't want Z to occur, A must not be allowed to occur either.

If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers.


Hasty Generalization

This is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. In other words, you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts.

Even though it's only the first day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc

This is a conclusion that assumes that if 'A' occurred after 'B' then 'B' must have caused 'A.'

I drank bottled water and now I am sick, so the water must have made me sick.


Genetic Fallacy

This conclusion is based on an argument that the origins of a person, idea, institute, or theory determine its character, nature, or worth.

The Volkswagen Beetle is an evil car because it was originally designed by Hitler's army.


Begging the Claim

The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim.

Filthy and polluting coal should be banned.


Circular Argument

This restates the argument rather than actually proving it.

Ex. George Bush is a good communicator because he speaks effectively.



This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices.

We can either stop using cars or destroy the earth.


Ad hominem

This is an attack on the character of a person rather than his or her opinions or arguments.

Green Peace's strategies aren't effective because they are all dirty, lazy hippies.


Ad populum/Bandwagon Appeal

This is an appeal that presents what most people, or a group of people think, in order to persuade one to think the same way. Getting on the bandwagon is one such instance of an ad populum appeal.

If you were a true American you would support the rights of people to choose whatever vehicle they want.


Red Herring

This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues, often by avoiding opposing arguments rather than addressing them.

The level of mercury in seafood may be unsafe, but what will fishers do to support their families?


Straw Man

This move oversimplifies an opponent's viewpoint and then attacks that hollow argument.

People who don't support the proposed state minimum wage increase hate the poor.


Moral Equivalence

This fallacy compares minor misdeeds with major atrocities, suggesting that both are equally immoral.

That parking attendant who gave me a ticket is as bad as Hitler.