Common Argument Fallacies
Common Argument Fallacies
When arguing a case or examining the arguments of another, look for these
common fallacies. Avoiding these problems makes a case stronger. Further,
finding these fallacies in other's statements can make your rebuttal easier.
The Straw Man fallacy is committed when an arguer distorts an opponent's
argument for the purpose of more easily attacking it. This often happens
when someone quotes another Debate Forum
member out of context.
Circular Reasoning occurs when stating in one's proof that which one is
supposed to be proving.
The Missing the Point fallacy occurs when the premises of an argument
appear to lead up to one particular conclusion but then a completely
different conclusion is drawn.
The Red Herring fallacy is committed when the arguer diverts the attention
of the reader or listener by changing the subject to some totally different
issue. Sticking to the topic of each individual folder will minimize the
impact of this fallacy.
The Hasty Generalization fallacy occurs when there is a likelihood that the
sample is not representative of the group.
The Ad Hominem fallacy occurs when an arguer's post appeals to feelings or
prejudices as opposed to logic. It also occurs when an arguer moves a
discussion to a personal level through character assassination or personal
The False Cause fallacy occurs whenever the link between premises and
conclusion depends on some imagined causal connection that probably does not
The Amphiboly fallacy occurs when the arguer misinterprets a statement that
is ambiguous, owing to some structural defect and proceeds to draw a
conclusion on this faulty interpretation. Again, this can happen when
someone is quoted out of context. If a statement seems unclear, ask the
person about it.
The Composition fallacy is committed when the conclusion of an argument
depends on the erroneous transference of characteristic from the parts of
something into the whole. In other words, the fallacy occurs when it is
argued that because the parts have a certain characteristic, it follows that
the whole has that characteristic, too. However, the situation is such that
the characteristic in question cannot be legitimately transferred from parts
The Suppressed Evidence fallacy is committed when an arguer ignores
evidence that would tend to undermine the premises of an otherwise good
argument, causing it to be unsound or uncogent.
Back to Jon's
Homeschool Resource Page
From the debate forum of AOL,
courtesy of TIFChris@aol.com
Markup copyright © 1994..96 by
Jon Shemitz -
October 13, 1994..November 12, 1996