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List of logical fallacies

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See Formal fallacy

As space does not permit a full list in the Logical fallacy article, this is a list of fallacies in logic and rhetoric, and some of the more logically-based Appeals closely related to Propaganda techniques. The study of logic and logical fallacies furthers the construction of arguments that are sound and convincing, or by unethical people, to create arguments that are devious and entangle their critics in endless refutation

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Formal fallacies[edit]

Formal fallacy Argument that is fallacious due to an error in its form or technical structure.[1] All formal fallacies are specific types of Non sequitur (logic)|non sequiturs

  • Appeal to law: an argument which implies that legislation is a moral imperative
  • Appeal to probability: assumes that because something could happen, it is inevitable that it will happen. This is the premise on which the humorous Murphy's Law is based.
  • Argument from fallacy: assumes that if an argument for some conclusion is fallacious, then the conclusion itself is false
  • Base rate fallacy: using weak evidence to make a probability judgment without taking into account known empirical statistics about the probability
  • Conjunction fallacy: assumption that an outcome simultaneously satisfying multiple conditions is more probable than an outcome satisfying a single one of them
  • Correlative based fallacies
  • Fallacy of necessity: a degree of unwarranted necessity is placed in the conclusion based on the necessity of one or more of its premises
  • False dilemma (false dichotomy): where two alternative statements are held to be the only possible options, when in reality there are more.
  • Is–ought problem: the inappropriate inference that because something is some way or other, so it ought to be that way
  • Homunculus fallacy: where a "middle-man" is used for explanation, this usually leads to regressive middle-man. Explanations without actually explaining the real nature of a function or a process. Instead, it explains the concept in terms of the concept itself, without first defining or explaining the original concept
  • Masked man fallacy: the substitution of identical designators in a true statement can lead to a false one
  • Naturalistic fallacy: a fallacy that claims that if something is natural, pleasant, popular, etc. then it is good or right
  • Nirvana fallacy: when solutions to problems are said not to be right because they are not perfect
  • Philosophic burden of proof (Negative proof fallacy): that, because a premise cannot be proven false, the premise must be true; or that, because a premise cannot be proven true, the premise must be false. This is the basis of the Argument from ignorance
  • Package-deal fallacy: consists of assuming that things often grouped together by tradition or culture must always be grouped that way
  • Equivocation Fallacy: In which a speaker will use a general definition of a term to a specific insinuation

Propositional fallacies[edit]

Propositional calculus (Propositional) fallacies:

Quantificational fallacies[edit]

Quantificational fallacies:

  • Existential fallacy: an argument has two universal premises and a particular conclusion, but the premises do not establish the truth of the conclusion
  • Proof by example: where examples are offered as inductive proof for a universal proposition. ("This apple is red, therefore all apples are red.")

Formal syllogistic fallacies[edit]

A Syllogistic fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs in logical arguments in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form, i.e. categorical proposition

Informal fallacies[edit]

Informal fallacies are arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural (formal) flaws

  • Argument from repetition (argumentum ad nauseam): signifies that it has been discussed extensively (possibly by different people) until nobody cares to discuss it anymore
  • Appeal to ridicule: a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by holding the opponent's argument up to ridicule
  • Argument from ignorance Something must be true/false because there is no proof that it is false/true. In rare cases, this can be true in practical terms, such as Scientific understanding, if the amount of investigation into the matter is sufficiently developed, but never true logically (eg As no evidence for the existence of God has never been shown in any modern scientific investigation, Science asserts that God does not exist, but logic itself cannot disprove God)
  • Begging the question (petitio principii): where the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises
  • Circular cause and consequence: where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause
  • Continuum fallacy (fallacy of the beard): Related to the Sorites paradox, this appears to demonstrate that two states or conditions cannot be considered distinct (or do not exist at all) because between them there exists a continuum of states. According to the fallacy, differences in quality cannot result from differences in quantity. "Fred losing a hair", says one example of the fallacy, "will not make him bald. Therefore, losing one hair at at time, he can never go bald". A similarly diminishing heap of sand and a room that goes from cold to hot are other examples.
  • Correlation does not imply causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc): a phrase used in the sciences and the statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not necessitate the causation of one by the other, although it does imply it may be so, and is required for a specific type of causation, linear causation
  • Square logic: A complex argument which is an iteration of non-sequitur arguments used as a premise for an unrelated conclusion
  • Philosophic burden of proof (Demanding negative proof): attempting to avoid the burden of proof for some claim by demanding proof of the contrary from whoever questions that claim
  • Equivocation: the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time)
  • Etymological fallacy: which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning
  • Fallacy of distribution
    • Fallacy of division: where one reasons logically that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts
    • Fallacy of composition: where one reasons logically that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole
    • Ecological fallacy: inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong
  • If-by-whiskey: An argument that supports both sides of an issue by using terms that are selectively emotionally sensitive.
  • Loaded question (Fallacy of many questions) (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum): someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner's agenda.
  • Fallacy of the single cause ("joint effect", or "causal oversimplification"): occurs when it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
  • False attribution: occurs when an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument
  • Argument to moderation (False compromise/middle ground): asserts that a compromise between two positions is correct. Even if it is a true middle ground, it is not necessarily logically true or even acceptable because it lies between the two.
  • Gambler's fallacy: the incorrect belief that separate, independent events can affect the likelihood of another random event. Even after losing for hours, the chance of winning is no greater. However, before the fact, the chance of losing after hours of gambling can be assessed. Also, after the event, the odds of losing for all that time (how 'unlucky' the gambler was) can be assessed.
  • Historian's fallacy: occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision. It is not to be confused with Presentism (literary and historical analysis)|presentism, a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas (such as moral standards) are projected into the past.
  • Incomplete comparison: where not enough information is provided to make a complete comparison
  • Inconsistent comparison: where different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison
  • Intentional fallacy: ad