Study Guide Essay

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Study Guide
Logical Fallacy-A logical fallacy is, roughly speaking, an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy.

Blanket Statements -This dangerous fallacy involves a statement that makes an overly general or absolute claim or reason and leaves the arguer vulnerable to attack. Blanket statements use the language of absoluteness. False Dilemma/either or- This fallacy occurs when a writer builds an argument upon the assumption that there are only two choices or possible outcomes when actually there are several. Outcomes are seldom so simple. This fallacy most frequently appears in connection to sweeping generalizations: “Either we must ban X or the American way of life will collapse.” "We go to war with Canada, or else Canada will eventually grow in population and overwhelm the United States." We can either stop using cars or destroy the earth.

Slippery slope (staircase) - the speaker argues that, once the first step is undertaken, a second or third step will inevitably follow, much like the way one step on a slippery incline will cause a person to fall and slide all the way to the bottom.

Circular Argument - Instead of providing support for a claim, the arguer simply restates a claim in this kind of fallacy.

Hasty Generalization - Mistaken use of inductive reasoning when there are too few samples to prove a point. Example: "Susan failed Biology 101. Herman failed Biology 101. Egbert failed Biology 101. I therefore conclude that most students who take Biology 101 will fail it."

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc- This type of false cause occurs when the writer mistakenly assumes that, because the first event preceded the second event, it must mean the first event caused the later one. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't. It is the honest writer's job to establish clearly that connection rather than merely assert it exists. Example: "A black cat crossed my path at noon. An hour later, my mother had a heart-attack. Because the first event occurred earlier, it must have caused the bad luck later." This is how superstitions begin.

Straw Man -his fallacy includes any lame attempt to "prove" an argument by overstating, exaggerating, or over-simplifying the arguments of the opposing side. Such an approach is building a straw man argument. The name comes from the idea of a boxer or fighter who meticulously fashions a false opponent out of straw, like a scarecrow, and then easily knocks it over in the ring before his admiring audience. Ad Hominem-Attacking or praising the people who make an argument, rather than discussing the argument itself. This practice is fallacious because the personal character of an individual is logically irrelevant to the truth or falseness of the argument itself. The statement "2+2=4" is true regardless if is stated by criminals, congressmen, or pastors. This is an attack on the character of a person rather than his or her opinions or arguments. Example:Green Peace's strategies aren't effective because they are all dirty, lazy hippies.

False Authority -A false analogy claims that situations or ideas are comparable when they are not. Relying only on comparisons to prove a point rather than arguing deductively and inductively. For example, “education is like cake; a small amount tastes sweet, but eat too much and your teeth will rot out. Likewise, more than two years of education is bad for a student.” The analogy is only acceptable to the degree a reader thinks that education is similar to cake. As you can see, faulty analogies are like flimsy wood, and just as no carpenter would build a house out of flimsy wood, no writer should ever construct an argument out of flimsy material.

Bandwagon Fallacy-“Everybody is doing it.” This argumentum ad…