Logical Fallacy Summaries

Accent Fallacy Summary

Latin Name: accentus (also known as:  emphasis fallacy, fallacy of accent, fallacy of prosody, misleading accent) Description: When the meaning of a word, sentence, or entire idea is interpreted …

Accident Fallacy Summary

Latin Name: a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid (also known as: destroying the exception, dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, dicto simpliciter, converse accident, reverse accident, fal…

Ad Fidentia Summary

Latin Summary: argumentum ad fidentia (also known as: against self-confidence) Description: Attacking the person’s self-confidence in place of the argument or the evidence. Logical Form: Person 1 clai…

Ad Hoc Rescue Summary

Latin Name: ad hoc (also known as: making stuff up, MSU fallacy) Description: Very often we desperately want to be right and hold on to certain beliefs, despite any evidence presented to the contrary.…

Ad Hominem (Abusive) Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad hominem (also known as:  personal abuse, personal attacks, abusive fallacy, appeal to the person, damning the source, name calling, refutation by caricature, against the…

Ad Hominem (Circumstantial) Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad hominem (also known as: appeal to bias, appeal to motive, appeal to personal interest, argument from motives, conflict of interest, faulty motives, naïve cynicism, questionin…

Ad Hominem (Guilt by Association) Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad hominem (also known as:  association fallacy, bad company fallacy, company that you keep fallacy, they’re not like us fallacy, transfer fallacy) Description: When the so…

Ad Hominem (Tu quoque) Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad hominem tu quoque (also known as:  appeal to hypocrisy, “you too” fallacy, hypocrisy, personal inconsistency) Description: Claiming the argument is flawed by pointing ou…

Affirmative Conclusion from a Negative Premise Summary

(also known as: illicit negative, drawing an affirmative conclusion from negative premises, fallacy of negative premises) This is our first fallacy in formal logic out of about a dozen presented in th…

Affirming the Consequent Summary

(also known as: converse error, fallacy of the consequent, asserting the consequent, affirmation of the consequent) New Terminology: Consequent: the propositional component of a conditional propositio…

Alleged Certainty Summary

(also known as: assuming the conclusion) Description: Asserting a conclusion without evidence or premises, through a statement that makes the conclusion appear certain when, in fact, it is not. Logica…

Alphabet Soup Summary

Description: The deliberate and excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations to appear more knowledgeable in the subject or confuse others. Logical Form: Person 1 uses acronyms and abbreviations. There…

Alternative Advance Summary

(also known as: lose-lose situation) Description: When one is presented with just two choices, both of which are essentially the same, just worded differently.  This technique is often used in sa…

Amazing Familiarity Summary

(also known as:  argument from omniscience, “how the hell can you possibly know that?”) Description: The argument contains information that seems impossible to have obtained—like it c…

Ambiguity Fallacy Summary

(also known as: ambiguous assertion, amphiboly, amphibology, semantical ambiguity, vagueness) Description: When an unclear phrase with multiple definitions is used within the argument; therefore, does…

Anonymous Authority Summary

(also known as: appeal to anonymous authority) Description: When an unspecified source is used as evidence for the claim.  This is commonly indicated by phrases such as “They say that…”, “I…

Anthropomorphism Summary

(also known as: personification) Description: The attributing of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, or other natural phenomena, or to gods. This becomes a logica…

Appeal to Accomplishment Summary

(also known as: appeal to success) Description: When the argument being made is sheltered from criticism based on the level of accomplishment of the one making the argument.  A form of this falla…

Appeal to Anger Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad iram (also known as: appeal to hatred, loathing, appeal to outrage, etc.) Description: When the emotions of anger, hatred, or rage are substituted for evidence in an argument…

Appeal to Authority Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad verecundiam (also known as: argument from authority, ipse dixit) Description: Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it w…

Appeal to Celebrity Summary

Description: Accepting a claim of a celebrity based on his or her celebrity status, not on the strength of the argument. Logical Form: Celebrity 1 says to use product Y. Therefore, we should use produ…

Appeal to Closure Summary

(also known as:  appeal to justice [form of]) Description: Accepting evidence on the basis of wanting closure—or to be done with the issue. While the desire for closure is a real psychological ph…

Appeal to Coincidence Summary

(also known as: appeal to luck, appeal to bad luck, appeal to good luck) Description: Concluding that a result is due to chance when the evidence strongly suggests otherwise.  The appeal to luck …

Appeal to Common Belief Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad populum (also known as: appeal to accepted belief, appeal to democracy, appeal to widespread belief, appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to general belief, appeal …

Appeal to Common Folk Summary

(also known as: appeal to the common man) Description: In place of evidence, attempting to establish a connection to the audience based on being a “regular person” just like each of them.  Then s…

Appeal to Common Sense Summary

Description: Asserting that your conclusion or facts are just “common sense” when, in fact, they are not. We must argue as to why we believe something is common sense if there is any doubt that the be…

Appeal to Consequences Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad consequentiam (also known as: appeal to consequences of a belief, argument to the consequences, argument from [the] consequences, appeal to convenience [form of], appeal to u…

Appeal to Definition Summary

(also known as: appeal to the dictionary, victory by definition) Description: Using a dictionary’s limited definition of a term as evidence that term cannot have another meaning, expanded meaning, or …

Appeal to Desperation Summary

Description: Arguing that your conclusion, solution, or proposition is right based on the fact that something must be done, and your solution is “something.” Logical Form: Something must b…

Appeal to Emotion Summary

(also known as: appeal to pathos, argument by vehemence, playing on emotions, emotional appeal, for the children) Description: This is the general category of many fallacies that use emotion in place …

Appeal to Equality Summary

(also known as:  appeal to egalitarianism, appeal to equity) Description: An assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality, where what exactly is “equal” …

Appeal to Extremes Summary

Description: Erroneously attempting to make a reasonable argument into an absurd one, by taking the argument to the extremes. Note that this is not a valid reductio ad absurdum. Logical Form: If X is …

Appeal to Faith Summary

Description: This is an abandonment of reason in an argument and a call to faith, usually when reason clearly leads to disproving the conclusion of an argument.  It is the assertion that one must…

Appeal to False Authority Summary

(also known as: appeal to doubtful authority, appeal to dubious authority, appeal to improper authority, appeal to inappropriate authority, appeal to irrelevant authority, appeal to misplaced authorit…

Appeal to Fear Summary

Latin Name: argumentum in terrorem (also known as: argumentum ad metum, argument from adverse consequences, scare tactics) Description:  When fear, not based on evidence or reason, is being used …

Appeal to Flattery Summary

(also known as: apple polishing, wheel greasing, brown nosing, appeal to pride / argumentum ad superbiam, appeal to vanity) Description: When an attempt is made to win support for an argument, not by …

Appeal to Force Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad baculum (also known as: argument to the cudgel, appeal to the stick) Description:  When force, coercion, or even a threat of force is used in place of a reason in an att…

Appeal to Heaven Summary

Latin Name: deus vult (also known as: gott mit uns, manifest destiny, special covenant) Description: Asserting the conclusion must be accepted because it is the “will of God” or “the will of the gods”…

Appeal to Intuition Summary

(also known as:  appeal to the gut) Description: Evaluating an argument based on “intuition” or “gut feeling” that is unable to be articulated, rather than evaluating the …

Appeal to Loyalty Summary

(also known as: appeal to patriotism [form of]) Description: When one is either implicitly or explicitly encouraged to consider loyalty when evaluating the argument when the truth of the argument is i…

Appeal to Nature Summary

Latin Name: Argumentum ad Naturam Description: When used as a fallacy, the belief or suggestion that “natural” is better than “unnatural” based on its naturalness. Many people adopt this as a default …

Appeal to Normality Summary

Description: Using social norms to determine what is good or bad.  It is the idea that normality is the standard of goodness.  This is fallacious because social norms are not the same as nor…

Appeal to Novelty Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad novitatem (also known as: appeal to the new, ad novitam [sometimes spelled as]) Description: Claiming that something that is new or modern is superior to the status quo, base…

Appeal to Pity Summary

Latin Name: ad misericordiam (also known as: appeal to sympathy, appeal to victimhood [form of]) Description: The attempt to distract from the truth of the conclusion by the use of pity. Logical Forms…

Appeal to Popularity Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad numeram (also see: appeal to common belief) Description: Using the popularity of a premise or proposition as evidence for its truthfulness.  This is a fallacy which is v…

Appeal to Possibility Summary

Description: When a conclusion is assumed not because it is probably true or it has not been demonstrated to be impossible, but because it is possible that it is true, no matter how improbable. Logica…

Appeal to Ridicule Summary

Latin Name: reductio ad ridiculum (also known as: appeal to mockery, the horse laugh) Description: Presenting the argument in such a way that makes the argument look ridiculous, usually by misrepresen…

Appeal to Self-evident Truth Summary

Description: Making the claim that something is “self-evident” when it is not self-evident in place of arguing a claim with reason. In everyday terms, something is “self-evident&#822…

Appeal to Spite Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad odium Description: Substituting spite (petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart) for evidence in an argument, or as a reason to support or …

Appeal to Stupidity Summary

Description: Attempting to get the audience to devalue reason and intellectual discourse, or devaluing reason and intellectual discourse based on the rhetoric of an arguer. Logical Form: Person 1 down…

Appeal to the Law Summary

Description: When following the law is assumed to be the morally correct thing to do, without justification, or when breaking the law is assumed to be the morally wrong thing to do, without justificat…

Appeal to the Moon Summary

(also known as: argumentum ad lunam) Description: Using the argument, “If we can put a man on the moon, we could…” as evidence for the argument. This is a specific form of the weak analogy. Logi…

Appeal to Tradition Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad antiquitatem (also known as: appeal to common practice, appeal to antiquity, appeal to traditional wisdom, proof from tradition, appeal to past practice, traditional wisdom) …

Appeal to Trust Summary

(also known as:  appeal to distrust [opposite], appeal to trustworthiness) Description: The belief that if a source is considered trustworthy or untrustworthy, then any information from that sour…

Argument by Emotive Language Summary

(also known as: loaded words, loaded language, euphemisms) Description: Substituting facts and evidence with words that stir up emotion, with the attempt to manipulate others into accepting the truth …

Argument by Fast Talking Summary

Description: When fast talking is seen as intelligence and/or confidence in the truth of one’s argument; therefore, seen as evidence of the truth of the argument itself. Logical Form: According to per…

Argument by Gibberish Summary

(also known as: bafflement, argument by [prestigious] jargon) Description: When incomprehensible jargon or plain incoherent gibberish is used to give the appearance of a strong argument, in place of e…

Argument by Personal Charm Summary

(also known as: sex appeal, flamboyance, eloquence) Description: When an argument is made stronger by the personal characteristics of the person making the argument, often referred to as “charm”. Logi…

Argument by Pigheadedness Summary

(also known as: argument by stubbornness, invincible ignorance fallacy) Description: This is a refusal to accept a well-proven argument for one of many reasons related to stubbornness. It can also be …

Argument by Repetition Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad nauseam (also known as: argument from nagging, proof by assertion) Description: Repeating an argument or a premise over and over again in place of better supporting evidence.…

Argument by Selective Reading Summary

Description: When a series of arguments or claims is made and the opponent acts as if the weakest argument was the best one made. This is a form of cherry picking and very similar to the selective att…

Argument from Age Summary

(also known as: wisdom of the ancients) Description: The misconception that previous generations had superior wisdom to modern man, thus conclusions that rely on this wisdom are seen accepted as true …

Argument from Fallacy Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad logicam (also known as: disproof by fallacy, argument to logic, fallacy fallacy, fallacist’s fallacy, bad reasons fallacy [form of]) Description: Concluding that the tr…

Argument from False Authority Summary

Description: When a person making a claim is presented as an expert who should be trusted when his or her expertise is not in the area being discussed. Logical Form: Expert A gives her view on issue B…

Argument from Hearsay Summary

(also known as: the telephone game, Chinese whispers, anecdotal evidence, anecdotal fallacy/Volvo fallacy [form of]) Description: Presenting the testimony of a source that is not an eyewitness to the …

Argument from Ignorance Summary

Latin Name: ad ignorantiam (also known as: appeal to ignorance, appeal to mystery [form of], black swan fallacy [form of], toupee fallacy [form of]) Description: The assumption of a conclusion or fact…

Argument from Incredulity Summary

(also known as:  argument from personal astonishment, argument from personal incredulity, personal incredulity) Description: Concluding that because you can’t or refuse to believe something…

Argument from Silence Summary

Latin Name: argumentum e silentio Description: Drawing a conclusion based on the silence of the opponent, when the opponent is refusing to give evidence for any reason. Logical Form: Person 1 claims X…

Argument of the Beard Summary

(also known as: fallacy of the beard, heap fallacy, heap paradox fallacy, bald man fallacy, continuum fallacy, line drawing fallacy, sorites fallacy) Description: When one argues that no useful distin…

Argument to Moderation Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad temperantiam (also known as: appeal to moderation, middle ground, false compromise, gray fallacy, golden mean fallacy, fallacy of the mean, splitting the difference) Descript…

Argument to the Purse Summary

Latin Name: argumentum ad crumenam (also known as: appeal to poverty or argumentum ad lazarum, appeal to wealth, appeal to money) Description: Concluding that the truth value of the argument is true o…

Avoiding the Issue Summary

(also known as: avoiding the question [form of], missing the point, straying off the subject, digressing, distraction [form of]) Description: When an arguer responds to an argument by not addressing t…

Base Rate Fallacy Summary

(also known as: neglecting base rates, base rate neglect, prosecutor’s fallacy [form of]) Description: Ignoring statistical information in favor of using irrelevant information, that one incorre…

Begging the Question Summary

Latin Name: petitio principii (also known as: assuming the initial point, assuming the answer, chicken and the egg argument, circulus in probando) Description: Any form of argument where the conclusio…

Biased Sample Fallacy Summary

(also known as: biased statistics, loaded sample, prejudiced statistics, prejudiced sample, loaded statistics, biased induction, biased generalization, biased generalizing, unrepresentative sample, un…

Blind Authority Fallacy Summary

(also known as: blind obedience, the “team player” appeal, Nuremberg defense, divine authority [form of], appeal to/argument from blind authority) Description: Asserting that a proposition…

Broken Window Fallacy Summary

(also known as: glazier’s fallacy) Description: The illusion that destruction and money spent in recovery from destruction, is a net-benefit to society.  A broader application of this falla…

Bulverism Summary

Description: This is a combination of circular reasoning and the genetic fallacy. It is the assumption and assertion that an argument is flawed or false because of the arguer’s suspected motives…

Causal Reductionism

(also known as: complex cause, fallacy of the single cause, causal oversimplification, reduction fallacy) Description: Assuming a single cause or reason when there were actually multiple causes or rea…

Cherry Picking Summary

(also known as: ignoring inconvenient data, suppressed evidence, fallacy of incomplete evidence, argument by selective observation, argument by half-truth, card stacking, fallacy of exclusion, ignorin…

Circular Definition Summary

Description: A circular definition is defining a term by using the term in the definition.  Ironically, that definition is partly guilty by my use of the term “definition” in the definition.&nbsp…

Circular Reasoning Summary

Latin Name: circulus in demonstrando (also known as: paradoxical thinking, circular argument, circular cause and consequence, reasoning in a circle, vicious circle) Description: A type of reasoning in…

Commutation of Conditionals Summary

(also known as: the fallacy of the consequent, converting a conditional) Description: Switching the antecedent and the consequent in a logical argument. Logical Form: If P then Q. Therefore, if Q then…

Complex Question Fallacy Summary

Latin Name: plurium interrogationum (also known as: many questions fallacy, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, trick question, false question) Description: A question that has a presuppositio…

Conflicting Conditions Summary

Latin Name: contradictio in adjecto (also known as: a self-contradiction, self-refuting idea) Description: When the argument is self-contradictory and cannot possibly be true. Logical Form: Claim X is…

Confusing an Explanation with an Excuse Summary

Description: Treating an explanation of a fact as if it were a justification of the fact, a valid reason for the fact, or evidence for the fact. Logical Form: Person 1 wants claim X be justified. Pers…

Confusing Currently Unexplained with Unexplainable Summary

Description: Making the assumption that what cannot currently be explained is, therefore, unexplainable (impossible to explain). This is a problem because we cannot know the future and what conditions…

Conjunction Fallacy Summary

(also known as: conjunction effect) Description: Similar to the disjunction fallacy , the conjunction fallacy occurs when one estimates a conjunctive statement (this and that) to be more probable than…

Conspiracy Theory Summary

(also known as: canceling hypothesis, canceling hypotheses, cover-ups) Description: Explaining that your claim cannot be proven or verified because the truth is being hidden and/or evidence destroyed …

Contextomy Summary

(also known as: fallacy of quoting out of context, quoting out of context) Description: Removing a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. Logical Form: A…

Deceptive Sharing Summary

Description: Sharing an article, post, or meme on social media with the intent to influence public perception to perceive a statistically rare event as a common event. The cognitive bias behind this f…

Definist Fallacy Summary

(also known as: persuasive definition fallacy, redefinition) Description: Defining a term in such a way that makes one’s position much easier to defend. Logical Form: A has definition X. X is harmful …

Denying the Antecedent Summary

(also known as: inverse error, inverse fallacy) Description: It is a fallacy in formal logic where in a standard if/then premise, the antecedent (what comes after the “if”) is made not true, then it i…

Denying the Correlative Summary

(also known as: denying the correlative conjunction) Description: Introducing alternatives when, in fact, there are none.  This could happen when you have two mutually exclusive statements (corre…

Disjunction Fallacy Summary

Description: Similar to the conjunction fallacy, the disjunction fallacy occurs when one estimates a disjunctive statement (this or that) to be less probable than at least one of its component stateme…

Distinction Without a Difference Summary

Description: The assertion that a position is different from another position based on the language when, in fact, both positions are the same — at least in practice or practical terms. Logical …

Double Standard Summary

Description: Judging two situations by different standards when, in fact, you should be using the same standard. This is used in argumentation to unfairly support or reject an argument. Logical Form: …

Ecological Fallacy Summary

(also known as: ecological inference fallacy) Description: The interpretation of statistical data where inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inference for the group to which tho…

Equivocation Summary

(also known as: doublespeak) Description: Using an ambiguous term in more than one sense, thus making an argument misleading. Logical Form: Term X is used to mean Y in the premise. Term X is used to m…

Etymological Fallacy Summary

Description: The assumption that the present-day meaning of a word should be/is similar to the historical meaning.  This fallacy ignores the evolution of language and heart of linguistics.  …