Logical Fallacies

When discussing issues with others, keep in mind the following 10 fallacies you may hear. Don’t jump down their throat, just gently explain why their argument doesn’t hold up. And catch yourself if you’re tempted to use any of these! Go to the source article for some nifty videos that illustrate each fallacy.

  1. Ad Hominem – rejecting or criticizing another person’s view on the basis of personal characteristics, background, physical appearance, or other features irrelevant to the argument at issue.
  2. Straw Man – attacking a position the opponent doesn’t really hold.
  3. Appeal to Ignorance – claiming because a thing isn’t proven, it must exist. If we don’t know whether it exists, then we don’t know that it does exist or that it doesn’t exist.
  4. False Dilemma – limiting the options to two when there are in fact more options to choose from.
  5. Slippery Slope – moving from a seemingly benign premise or starting point and working through a number of small steps to an improbable extreme.
  6. Circular Argument – repeating what was already assumed beforehand and not arriving at any new conclusion.
  7. Hasty Generalization – making general statements without sufficient evidence to support them.
  8. Red Herring – distracting from the argument typically with some sentiment that seems to be relevant but isn’t really on-topic.
  9. Tu Quoque – deflecting criticism away from one’s self by accusing the other person of the same problem or something comparable.
  10. Causal Fallacy – a) False Cause: concluding about a cause without enough evidence to do so. b) Post hoc: mistaking something for the cause just because it came first. c) Correlational Fallacy: mistakenly interpreting two things found together as being causally related.