These are fallacies in arguments that are taken from a page on CARM
- Ad hominim - Attacking the individual instead of the
You are so stupid you argument couldn't possibly be true.
I figured that you couldn't possibly get it right, so I ignored
- Appeal to force - The hearer is told that something
bad will happen to him if he does not accept the argument.
- Example: If
you don't want to get beat up, you will agree with what I say.
Convert or die.
- Appeal to pity - The hearer is urged to accept the
argument based upon an appeal to emotions, sympathy, etc.
- Example: You
owe me big time because I really stuck my neck out for you.
- Example: Oh
come on, I've been sick. That's why I missed the deadline.
- Appeal to the popular - the hearer is urged to accept
a position because a majority of people hold to it.
- Example: The
majority of people like soda. Therefore, soda is good.
- Example: Everyone
else is doing it. Why shouldn't you?
- Appeal to tradition - trying to get someone to accept
something because it has been done or believed for a long time.
This is the way we've always done it. Therefore, it is the right
- Example: The
Catholic church's tradition demonstrates that this doctrine is
- Begging the Question - Assuming the thing to be true
that you are trying to prove. It is circular.
- Example: God
exists because the Bible says so. The Bible is inspired.
Therefore, we know that God exists.
- Example: I
am a good worker because Frank says so. How can we trust
Frank? Simple. I will vouch for him.
- Cause and Effect - assuming that the effect is related
to a cause because the events occur together.
When the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore, the
rooster causes the sun to rise.
When the fuel light goes on in my car, I soon run out of gas.
Therefore, the fuel light causes my car to run out of gas.
- Circular Argument - see Begging the Question
- Division - assuming that the what is true of the whole
is true for the parts.
That car is blue. Therefore, its engine is blue.
Your family is weird. That means that you are weird too.
- Equivocation - The same
term is used in an argument in different places but the word has
- Example: A
bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Therefore, a bird
is worth more than President Bush.
- Example: Evolution states that one species
can change into another. We see that cars have evolved into
different styles. Therefore, since evolution is a fact in
cars, it is true in species.
- False Dilemma - Two choices are given when in
actuality there could be more choices possible.
- Example: You either did knock the glass
over or you did not. Which is it?
- Example: Do you still beat your wife?
- Genetic Fallacy
- The attempt to endorse or disqualify a claim because of the origin
or irrelevant history of the claim
- Example: The Nazi regime developed the
Volkswagen Beetle. Therefore, you should not by a VW Beetle
because of who started it.
- Example: Frank's just got out of jail last
year and since it was his idea to start the hardware store, I
can't trust him.
- Guilt by
Association - Rejecting an
argument or claim because the person proposing it likes someone is
disliked by another.
- Example: Hitler liked dogs. Therefore
dogs are bad.
- Example: Your friend is a thief.
Therefore, I cannot trust you.
- Non Sequitar - Comments or information that do not logically
follow from a premise or the conclusion.
- Example: We know why it rained today,
because I washed my car.
- Example: I don't care what you say.
We don't need any more bookshelves. As long as the carpet is
clean, we are fine.
- Poisoning the well
- Presenting negative information about a person before he/she speaks
so as to discredit the person's argument.
- Example: Frank is pompous, arrogant, and
thinks he knows everything. So, let's hear what Frank has to
say about the subject.
- Example: Don't listen to him because he is
- Red Herring - The
introduction of a topic not related to the subject at hand.
- Example: I know your car isn't working
right. But, if you had gone to the store one day earlier,
you'd not be having problems.
- Example: I know I forgot to deposit the
check into the bank yesterday. But, nothing I do pleases
- Special Pleading
(double standard) - Applying a different standard to another that
is applied to oneself.
- Example: You can't possibly understand
menopause because you are a man.
- Example: Those rules don't apply to me
since since I am older than you.
- Straw Man Argument - Producing an argument to attack
that is a weaker representation of the truth.
- Example: The
government doesn't take care of the poor because it doesn't have a
tax specifically to support the poor.
- Example: We know that evolution is false
because we did not evolve from monkeys.
Back to Home