Selected Topics in Writing an Academic Paper
VII. Logical fallacies
VII Logical Fallacies
Keywords: slippery slope, straw man, fallacy, circularity, red herring
Fallacies are common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of any argument. Fallacies can be either illegitimate arguments or irrelevant points, and are often identified because they lack evidence that supports their claim. It is important both to avoid these common fallacies 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 premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C…X, Y, Z will happen too, basically 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 environment eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers. In this example the author is ← 71 | 72 → equating banning Hummers with banning all cars, which is not the same thing.
Hasty Generalisation: This is a conclusion based on insufficient 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 first day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course. In this example, the author is basing their evaluation of the...
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