While many of us engage quite happily in wishful thinking, we elevate it to the status of a fallacy when we use it in place of argument. If we accept a contention because we would like it to be true, rather than because of the arguments or evidence which support… Read More »What is Wishful thinking fallacy?
This is the appeal to false authority. While it is perfectly in order to cite as a supporting witness someone who has specialized knowledge of the field concerned, it is a fallacy to suppose that an expert in one field can lend support in another. Unless he has special expertise,… Read More »What is Verecundiam, argumentum ad?
When the arguments for and against courses of action are asses-sed, it is important to remember that the choice has to be made from the available alternatives. All of them might be criticized for their imperfections, as might the status quo. Unless one of the options is perfect, the imperfections… Read More »What is Unobtainable perfection fallacy?
Classic among schoolboy fallacies is the argument that because all horses have four legs and all dogs have four legs, so all horses are dogs. This is the simplest version of the notorious fallacy of the undistributed middle. Both horses and dogs are indeed four-legged, but neither of them occupies… Read More »What is The Undistributed middle fallacy?
An enthymeme is an argument with one of its stages understood rather than stated. This is all right as long as both parties accept the tacit assumption. When the unstated element is not accep-ted, we move into the territory of the fallacy. Bill must be stupid. You have to be… Read More »What is Unaccepted enthyrnemes fallacy?
Tu quoque means ‘you also’, and is committed when a case is undermined by the claim that its proponent is himself guilty of what he talks of. It is a change of subject from a claim made by a proponent to one made against him. (‘You accuse me of abusing… Read More »What is Tu quoque?
The problem with trivial objections is that they leave the central thesis largely untouched. It is fallacious to oppose a contention on the basis of minor and incidental aspects, rather than giving an answer to the main claim which it makes. I am totally opposed to the new road around… Read More »What is Trivial objections fallacy?
When the round black hat first appeared it was dubbed a bowler. This was because it looked like a bowl, and because it was made by the Bowler brothers. The term ‘Thatcher’s blame’ might similarly catch on for two reasons: it was regularly used against the lady herself, and it… Read More »What is Thatcher’s blame?
If fallacies were assigned to the nations of the world, the argumentum ad temperantlam would be allocated to England. It is the Englishman’s fallacy. The argumentum ad temperantiam suggests that the moderate view is the correct one, regardless of its other merits, it takes moderation to be a mark of… Read More »What is Temperantlam, argumentum ad?
The straw man of logic does not scare anyone. No self-respecting crow would even rustle a feather at him; he is too easy to knock down. Precisely. The straw man is made incredibly easy to knock down so that when you are unable to refute your opponent’s argument, you can… Read More »What is Straw man fallacy?