Literary Terms, Term 2- Fallacies

Topics: CultureTradition

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Last updated: May 8, 2019

Oversimplification
Treating complex issues as if they are very simple. Black and white type thinking.

Hasty or Sweeping Generalization
Jumping to conclusions from an insufficient sampling. (oversimplification)

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Either/Or
Suggesting only two alternatives, with no shades of grey. (oversimplification)

Thin Entering Wedge
Essentially – if you don’t do what I think ought to be done, then something awful will happen.

(oversimplification)

Mistaking the Cause
A follows B therefore A causes B. (oversimplification)

False Analogy
The comparison is not appropriate. (oversimplification)

Guilt by Association
Drawing a conclusion – often condemning – just because he/she is associated with a group or event. (conclusion)

Circular Argument or Begging the Question
Doesn’t move from a premise to a conclusion. The main assertion isn’t supported; it is just repeated.

(distortion)

Non Sequitur
An attempt at being logical, but conclusion needs more than the given premise(s). (distortion)

Red Herring
An irrelevant comment, sometimes made deliberately to distract attention. (distortion)

Arguing the Person (Ad Hominem)
Arguing the personality, background, etc. of the person instead of the issue. Sometimes name-calling. (distortion)

You’re Another (Tu Quoque)
A way of deflecting a hostile charge by making a similar charge against he opponent.

(distortion)

You prove it first
Arguing that something is true just because someone hasn’t proven it false. A way of deflecting the burden of the argument. (distortion)

Loaded Argument
Loaded words (in this case “useless”) forces two arguments into one. (distortion)

Appeal to Authority
Because a popular figure, an “expert” says it’s true, it must be true. Beware also of such authoritative statements “statistics show.

..” (distortion)

Appeal to Tradition
Just because it is a tradition it is right and good.

This appeals to deep rooted emotional biases. (distortion)

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