Selected Topics in Writing an Academic Paper
VII. Logical fallacies
71 VII Logical Fallacies Keywords: slippery slope, straw man, fallacy, circularity, red herring Fallacies are common errors in reasoning that will under- mine the logic of any argument. Fallacies can be either illegitimate arguments or irrelevant points, and are often identiﬁ ed because they lack evidence that supports their claim. It is important both to avoid these common falla- cies in your own arguments and watch for them in the arguments of others. The following text will illustrate only a small portion of the widespread types of fallacies. Slippery slope. This is a conclusion based on the prem- ise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C...X, Y, Z will happen too, basi- cally equating A and Z. So, if we don’t want Z to occur A must not be allowed to occur either. For example: If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environ- ment eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers. In this example the author is 72 equating banning Hummers with banning all cars, which is not the same thing. Hasty Generalisation: This is a conclusion based on insuffi cient or biased evidence. In other words, you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts. For example: Even though it’s only the ﬁ rst day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course. In this example, the author is basing their evaluation of the entire course...
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