Logical Fallacies
as explained by L. Van Warren
Warren Design Vision


Fallacy: n. pl. fal·la·cies
1. A false notion.
2. A statement or an argument based on a false or invalid inference.
3. Incorrectness of reasoning or belief; erroneousness.
4. The quality of being deceptive.

1. Black-and-white fallacy.
(a) using sharp distinctions despite any factual support for them.
Example: "He is a Democrat, therefore he must be a pro-choice."
(b) classifying a middle point between extremes as one of the extremes.
Example: "You are either a conservative or a liberal."

2. Fallacy of argument against the man (argumentum ad hominem)
The Latin means "argument to the man."
(a) Arguing against a person's views by attacking them instead of their argument.
Example: "What John said should not be believed because he has red hair"

3. Fallacy of argument from ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam)
The Latin means "argument to ignorance."
(a) Arguing something is true because no one has proved it false
Example: "Aliens exist since no one has proven they don't."
(b) Arguing that something is false because no one has proved it true.
Example: "Aliens don't exist since no one has proven they do."

4. Fallacy of appeal to personal interest (argumentum ad personam).
Appeal to the personal likes, prejudices, weaknesses, of others in order to have an argument accepted. "Well ya wanna be in the club don't ya?"

5. Fallacy of argument to veneration (argumentum ad verecundiam.)
Appealing to authority, fame, customs, traditions, institutions, to gain acceptance of a point.
Example: "That's the way we've always done it..."

6. Fallacy of accident. (dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid)
(a) Applying a general rule or principle to an instance
not allowing the proper application of that generalization.
Example: "That spotted horse is male, therefore all spotted horses must be male"

7. Fallacy of ill-posed or loaded question.
(a) Asking a question wherein a "Yes" or a "No" will incriminate the respondent.
"Have you buried all your victims?" or
"Have you stopped beating your wife"
(b) Asking questions that are based on unstated attitudes or questionable assumptions.
Example: "How long are you going to put up with this injustice?"

8. Fallacy of composition.
(a) Arguing that what is true of the parts is also true of the whole.
Example: "Molecules wiggle, therefore people fidget."

9. Fallacy of division.
Arguing that what is true of the whole is true of its parts.
Example: "People breathe, therefore molecules breathe."

10. Fallacy of consensus gentium.
Arguing that an idea is true on the basis that the majority of people believe it.
Example: Fen fen is great for weight loss....

11. Fallacy of converse accident (a dicto secumdum quid ad dictum simpliciter). The error of generalizing from atypical or exceptional instances. Example: "Insulin shots makes diabetics well. People in general ought to have insulin shots to feel better."

12. Fallacy of equivocation.
An argument in which a word is used with one meaning in one part of the argument and with another meaning in another part.
Example: "The end of a thing is its perfection, death is the end of life, hence death is the perfection of life."

13. Fallacy of false cause (post hoc ergo propter hoc).
Example: "A black cat ran across my path. Ten minutes later I was hit by a truck. Therefore, the cat's running across my path was the cause of my being hit by a truck."

14. Fallacy of irrelevant conclusion (ignoratio elenchi). An argument that is irrelevant.
Example: A lawyer in defending his alcoholic client who has murdered three people in a drunken spree argues that alcoholism is a terrible disease and attempts should be made to eliminate it.

15. Fallacy of misleading context. Arguing by misrepresenting, distorting, omitting or quoting something out of context.

16. Fallacy of red herring. Ignoring criticism of an argument by changing attention to another subject.

17. Fallacy of special pleading.
(a) Accepting an idea or criticism when applied to an opponent's argument but rejecting it when applied to one's own argument.
(b) rejecting an idea or criticism when applied to an opponent's argument but accepting it when applied to one's own.

18. Gambler's fallacy. (a) Arguing that since, for example, a penny has fallen tails ten times in a row then it will fall heads the eleventh time.

19. Pragmatic fallacy. Arguing that something is true because it has practical effects upon people: it makes them happier, easier to deal with, more moral, loyal, stable. Example: "An immortal life exists because without such a concept men would have nothing to live for. There would be no meaning or purpose in life and everyone would be immoral."