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Flashcards in Logocal Fallacies Deck (12)
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Ad hominem attack

Take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument

E.g. Trump and Clinton - can undermine each other's arguments without actually having to engage with the details


Appeal to tradition

Using the historical preferences of the people (tradition), either in general or as specific as the historical preferences of a single individual, as evidence that the tradition is correct

- "this is the way it's always been done"; this is not a reason it is an absence of reason

- e.g. Marriage is between man and woman; therefore gays can't get married


Ecological fallacy

Occurs where an analysis of group data is used to draw conclusions about an individual

This occurs when people apply statistics incorrectly or when people are looking for factual support for their argument

E.g. A study showed that people with spectacles have above average intelligence- you have spectacles, therefore you must be intelligent


Etymology fallacy

The assumption that the present day meaning of a word should be similar to the historical meaning.
- this fallacy ignores the evolution of language


Elba: can't believe the art critic said my work was awful

Rowena: he must've meant the old sense of the word, as in awe!

Elba: yes! That makes sense


Fallacy of composition

Inferring that something is true of the whole from that fact that it is true of some part of the whole

E.g. Each brick in that wall weighs less than a pound - therefore the building weighs less than a pound


Fallacy of division

Inferring that something is true of one or more parts from the fact that it is true of the whole

This is the opposite of the fallacy of composition

E.g. His house is about half the size of most houses in the neighbourhood, therefore his doors must be about 3 feet high


False analogy

In an analogy, two objects (or events) A and B are shown to be similar - then it is argued that since A has Property P, B must also have Property P

An analogy fails when the two objects, A and B are different in a way which effects whether they both have Property P

E.g. Paley and his watch on the Heath


False dichotomy

Occurs when an argument presents two options and ignores, either purposefully or out of ignorance, other alternatives

For example the assessed essay title - "should corruption be studied normatively or empirically" - it can be studied using both


Guilt by association

A fallacy in which a person rejects a claim simply because it is pointed out that people they dislike accept the claim

It is pointed out that person A doesn't like/accept claim P
Therefore P is false

You believe 1+1=2 but so did hitler and so you shouldn't believe this


Naturalistic fallacy

The is-ought-fallacy

When the conclusion expresses what ought to be, based on actually what is more natural. This is very common and most people don't see the problem with these assertions due to accepted social norms

This by passes reason and we fail as to why something that is ought to be that way

Homosexuality is morally wrong because in nature sex is used for reproduction, therefore we ought not to be homo


Nirvana fallacy

Comparing a realistic solution with a idealised one, and dismissing one even discounting the realistic solution as a result of comparing to a "perfect world" or impossible standard

E.g. What's the point of making drinking illegal under the age of 18? Kids still manage to get alcohol


Straw man

By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone's argument, it is much easier to present your own argument as being reasonable

E.g. After will said we should put more money into healthcare, john responded that he was surprised that will hates the U.K. so much that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting military spending