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There are many fallacies used every day in ads, political debates, and other forms of persuasion

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Strategies: First, consider what your audience already knows about the things that you plan to compare/contrast. If, for instance, they are knowledgeable about the things you are comparing, then you can explore the reasons behind your comparison. If your readers are familiar with one or two of the several things you plan to compare, then consider beginning your comparison with the known entities and moving into the unknown ones. Use balance between the two elements. Just because an ostrich and a hummingbird have wings does not mean that balance exists between the two different wings; such a comparison would be lopsided and ineffective.

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This fallacy happens when the proposition is based on the premise and/or vice versa. For example, if you are told that the Toyota Corolla is the most popular car in America because so many Americans drive it, then you are not being given any reason or evidence, aside from the proposition (that the Corolla is popular because people drive it) that goes along with the proposition. This fallacy is often easy to locate because everything seems logical enough, but there is no relationship to any external factors.


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This fallacy is similar to begging the question in the sense that once information that tends to contradict the logical relationship is brought into the logic, the information is simply ignored. Normally, ignoring the question fallacies are much easier to detect than begging the questions fallacies because the contradiction created by some information supporting the logical relationship is usually made obvious by the person establishing the logical relationship. We can use the social security scenario from above for this fallacy. If the candidate had stated that the stock market was always liable to be a place where investments were lost, and he still advocated putting social security funds into the stock market, he would have ignored the question of what would be done for retirees when their social security accounts were diminished or wiped out by stock market losses.

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This fallacy happens when someone says that something should be done differently because a new idea exists. For example, if a person tells you that he has found a new short cut and you should commute to school by way of his new short cut, then he is making this fallacy. Just because it is a new short-cut does not mean that it is faster than the old short-cut. There is no logical reason or other evidence offered that makes the fact that it is new any reason to change what you are already doing. If the person says that his new short-cut is two miles less than the old short-cut, then he is not making the fallacy. You can spot these fallacies fairly easily (but not all the time: sometimes the new idea seems seductive) because the evidence to do something is because the something is new.

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During the same time, I perused a few books on propositional logic, both modern and medieval, one of which was Robert Gula's . Gula's book reminded me of a list of heuristics that I had scribbled down in a notebook a decade ago about how to argue; they were the result of several years of arguing with strangers in online forums and had things like, “try not to make general claims about things without evidence.” That is obvious to me now, but to a schoolboy, it was an exciting realization.

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This fallacy occurs when evidence supporting the logic of the argument or the proposition creates alternatives to the proposition. For example, if someone tells you that she has a great deal for you, which could make you a two hundred percent return on your investment, and that because the return on your investment is so high you should not even question making the investment, she would be begging the question what risks there were to your investment. Just because the deal she is offering sounds so good, this does not mean that your decision to participate in the deal should be based on the possible two hundred percent return. What she is asking you to do and why she is saying that you should do it are literally begging the question of why you should go along with her. The proposition (that you should go along with her) is not premised on how safe the investment is or how many times she has returned a two hundred percent return to investors; instead the proposition (that you should invest) is premised on what might happen.

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The illustrations are partly inspired by allegories such as Orwell's and partly by the humorous nonsense of works such as Lewis Carroll's stories and poems. Unlike such works, there isn't a narrative that ties them together; they are discrete scenes, connected only through style and theme, which better affords adaptability and reuse. Each fallacy has just one page of exposition, and so the terseness of the prose is intentional.