Logical Fallacies

Due to the focus of my posts to be centered around politics and religion, it will be important to have a cursory understanding of some of the more common logical fallacies as I will likely be invoking them in my various critiques ad nauseum.

Argumentum ad populum – Assuming a claim is true due to the amount of people who believe it’s true.

Argument from ignorance – Assuming a claim is true due to lack of evidence to the contrary.

Straw man – Presenting a weak, phony, or ridiculous version of an opponent’s argument just to easily knock it down.

Red herring – A clever distraction from the argument at hand to keep initial argument from being scrutinized.

Tu quoque – Also known as ‘whataboutism’, focusing on your opponent’s hypocrisy to divert responsibility away from a fallacious position.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc – Correlation equals causation.

False dichotomy – Reducing an argument to 2 options in spite of other possible factors or better options available.

Slippery slope – Taking an argument from a moderate position and leading succeeding elements to an extreme position regardless of logic or rationality.

Special pleading – Setting up a situation in which the focus of your argument is exempt.

Appeal to authority – Assuming a claim is true due to an “authority” saying so, forgoing an appeal to the evidence.

Ad hominem – Also known as ‘poisoning the well’, calling into question your opponent’s credibility, morals, intelligence, etc. rather than addressing the argument itself.

Circular argument – Also known as ‘begging the question’ or a tautology, where the conclusion of an argument is the premise.

Moving the goalposts –  Changing the argument after a challenge has been met rather than concede the point and move forward.

Modal – Assuming a claim is true due to the possibility of it being true.

No true Scotsman – Making a generalization true by changing the generalization to exclude a counterexample.

 

Many of these are the roots of several other fallacies. There are over 200 that Aristotle and Co. were able to define, but these are the most common that are seen today. Familiarizing yourself with these will help to understand my issues with the forthcoming arguments, and will also help to check yourself before making an argumentative faux pas.

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