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  1. Logical fallacy - RationalWiki › wiki › Logical_fallacy
    • Explanation
    • Types
    • Formal
    • Informal
    • Conditional
    • Argumentative
    • Fallacy Collections
    • See Also
    • External Links

    Must be used in argument

    One common error when first learning about logical fallacies is to fail to realise that a fallacy can only be present if it is used as part of an argument. For example, "So-and-so is a socialist" is not an ad hominem fallacy (see below) because it is simply a statement. So-and-so may be a socialist. "So-and-so is a socialist, therefore s/he is wrong" is an ad hominembecause a conclusion is being drawn, and the conclusion has nothing to do with the premise. It attacks the opponent; not the opp...

    Validity versus truth

    Just because an argument is valid does not mean the conclusion is true. A valid argument simply means that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true as well. A sound argument is a valid argument with the additional requirement that the premises (and thus the conclusion) are true.For instance, consider the following argument. 1. P1:All humans are cows. 2. P2: All cows are plants. 3. C:All humans are plants. Although the conclusion is false and the premises are false, this is still...


    It is not acceptable to merely state that one's opponent is using a fallacy (as above). One must explain how the opponent's argument is fallacious (e.g., they claim that you are a shill), why it is wrong (there's no evidence that you are a paid government disinformation agent), and what that means for their argument (if you're not a shill, then your arguments can't be handwavedaway). This need not be a drawn-out paragraph. Even "your ad hominemis irrelevant to my argument, so my argument stan...

    There is no consensus among philosophers about how to best organize fallacies. They can be classified as inductive and deductive, formal and informal, categories pertaining to the psychological factors that led people to create them, and the epistemological or logical factors that underlie them. Another problem that occurs when organizing fallacies is that many of them can be placed in different areas. Consider, for example, the equality fallacy. It is a fallacy of ambiguity as it is not often clear what people mean when they say one should be treated “equally”. It is a political correctness fallacy, as liberal politicians advocate for the idea that one should be offended if people are not treated "equally”. It is a jumping to conclusions fallacy, as it assumes that the blind should be treated "equally" to someone who has 20/20 vision (which is clearly a logical error if one works at the DMV or one is responsible for hiring referees). It is an appeal to self-evident truth fallacy as...

    All formal fallacies are forms of invalid (generally deductive) reasoning and specific types of non-sequitur.

    Fallacies of presumption

    Fallacies of presumption occur when one uses a fallacious or unwarranted assumption to establish a conclusion.

    Fallacies of relevance

    Red herring: A group of fallacies which bring up facts or issues which are irrelevant to the argument often in an attempt to distract the opponent and/or audience. 1. Rights To Ought: The speaker deflects criticism for a behaviour or statement by declaring that they have the 'right' to perform said action. This is utterly irrelevant. Just because you can do something, does not mean it is desirable, pragmatic, or beneficial in anyway to anyone. 1.1. Red herring: A distraction from the original...

    Fallacies of clarity/ambiguity/vagueness

    Fallacies of clarity/ambiguity/vagueness (equivocations): Fallacies that lead to logical confusion because of a lack of logical or linguistic precision. Often (subconsciously/unconsciously) substituting the meaning of a given word in one context for another context that is inappropriate in order to make your argument. Intentional (also known as ambiguous middle term) and extensional fallacies depend on using words or phrases that are open to more than one interpretation and treating the diffe...

    For the purpose this list, a conditional "fallacy" is an argument that may or may not be fallacious depending on how the argument is constructed. The fallacious forms of the argument can be placed in the informal category section (and many such fallacies are already listed there). 1. Appeal to authority: When an appeal to authority is done correctly, then it can be called an appeal to a qualified authority and is not a fallacy. When it is done incorrectly, it can be called an appeal to false authority. Determining what is or is not a qualified authority is the subject of epistemologyand it is beyond the scope of this fallacy list. While determining an authority's qualifications is often viewed from a scientific vantage point, it is not limited to that field of study. The "He said she said" problem is also a question of whether an authority is qualified or not. 2. Is/ought problem (also known as Hume's law): The is/ought problem stipulates that "what is" is fundamentally distinct fro...

    For the purposes of this list, argumentative fallacies are ones that occur in communication, both the verbal and written forms of it. These fallacies often incorporate many of the informal fallacies listed above when they are presenting information. 1. Having Your Cake (If-by-whiskey): Using words with strong connotations to hide the fact that one is supporting both sides of an issue and therefore not stating a position. 2. Slanting: presenting a false representation for a particular argument by misrepresenting, falsifying, misconstruing, and/or suppressing evidence. 2.1. Lying with statistics: Using flawed statistics or a biased presentation of a statistical outcome to convey the idea that one's position has more support for it than it does. 2.2. Argument by gGibberish: "Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children" (the title for Andrew Wakefield's paper in the Lancet). Alphabet soup results from boiling this fallacy do...

    There are lots of fallacy collections on the Web. Some of them promote a particular agenda, but most fallacies listed in them are real and present in arguments everyday. Unfortunately, many are deprecated. Here is a list of websites, ordered roughly by usefulness: Deprecated ones, listed ad hoc:

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