Six Common Fallacies in Logic

Six Common Fallacies in Logic

Knowledge of fallacies in logic is essential for scholars to make messages more persuasive. Most academic writings need you to make an argument that is free from mistakes. So to make a case more logical, you should know what common fallacies are.

Not only students but some advertising and politics writings also require rhetorical devices to convince people that their arguments are valid. And to prove their point, people often use logic and reasoning. But they always end up making fallacies in logic.

For ethical reasoning, it is essential to detect logical fallacies. Some nineteenth-century logicians such as Aristotle, Richard Whately, and John Stuart Mill noted that an argument could be fallacious in three ways: in its material content, in its wording, and its structure or form. The following article contains some most common fallacies in logic that you may encounter. But first, we should know what does a fallacy in logic means.

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What is a Fallacy in Logic?

A fallacy in logic is a kind of error in reasoning. Arguers use them unintentionally or intentionally to trick people. Sometimes the word “fallacy” indicates a false belief. More frequently, people make these errors within public discussions and debates. At first, Aristotle explained the study of fallacies and listed thirteen fallacies. They are the defects that weaken the argument.

Knowing how to spot a fallacy is a useful skill. These fallacies are common in classroom discussions and formal debates. However, there are two significant categories of fallacies in logic: formal fallacy and informal fallacy. Let us take a look at the variations of these fallacies.

A formal fallacy is also known as non-sequiturs. It is the error in how you say something. A formal fallacy occurs when ideas have an incorrect sequence. Hence when the form of the argument is wrong, then it is nothing more than noise or non-sense. In formal reasoning, the pattern of the evidence might seem logical, but it is always wrong.

An informal fallacy denotes the error in what you are saying. It originates in the reasoning instead of the sequence of arguments. To determine formal fallacies, you need to examine the statement. While identifying informal fallacy, you need supporting evidence.

List of Logical Fallacies

Having an understanding of logical fallacies can help you in the confident phrasing of an argument. So, here is a list of some common fallacies in logic.

· Casual Fallacy

The casual fallacy is an error in identifying a cause. If two things are relatable, that does not mean that one indicates the other. It is the parent fallacy of various other fallacies that have unproven causes.

One of them is a false cause. It is when you conclude a reason without having enough evidence. For example, since your parents named you Cookie, they must be bakers.

In the above example, the parents might be bakers, but the name “Cookie” alone cannot be a good reason for it.

· Post Hoc Fallacy

Post hoc fallacy happens when your mistake causes just because it came first. A lot of superstitions come under the category of post hoc fallacy. For example, the black cat crossed your way; that is why you had a bad day.

Since the cat has no superpowers. Therefore it has nothing to do with your good day or bad day. Perhaps your bad day is just your interpretation, so you cannot assume some non-natural relation for it.

· Strawman Fallacy

This fallacy in logic-based on a scarecrow. In this fallacy, your opponent misrepresents your argument to make it easier to refute. It can be unethical if opponents do that on purpose for the sake of deceiving others. For example, the President says, “The nation is in debt, and we should not spend much on the defense.” The media reports that the president leaves the nation defenseless.

· Bandwagon Fallacy

Bandwagon fallacy assumes a proposition is true because a significant number of people believe it to be true. In simple words, when something is accepted because it is popular or most people agree on it. According to some logicians, some people deliberately use this fallacy as politicians use it to gain votes, and advertisers use it to advertise their products.  For example, most people are turning to meditation to calm their minds. Therefore meditation can also make us calm.

· The Hasty Generalization Fallacy

The Hasty Generalization is the most common fallacy in logic. They made out of the rush to have a conclusion. When someone draws conclusions based on insufficient evidence. In simple words, they jump to conclusions without studying the evidence. Generally, in everyday life, we conclude this. For example, Christopher Nolan is a wealthy film-maker. Therefore all film-makers are rich.

In the above example, just because one film-maker is wealthy, that does not mean that all the film-makers are rich. Thus drawing such a conclusion would be a fallacy.

· Red Herring Fallacy

When the arguer went off on a tangent and raised a different issue that distracts the audience, then the error is known as red herring fallacy. It can be challenging to identify because it is not always clear how the topic is relatable. Red herring fallacy can be confusing and distracting instead of clarifying and focusing. For example, suppose a boy says that I am in pain due to my break up. And his father says that just think about the poor people who don’t even have food to eat; then your problem will seem meaningless.

In this case, the father is going off on a pretty obvious tangent.

As we can see, there are so many fallacies in logic. Now that you know what common fallacies in logic look like hope you will be able to avoid them in your writings.

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