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Academic Writing

Selected Topics in Writing an Academic Paper


Silvia Gáliková

The textbook concentrates on selected topics and problematic aspects in preparing a cohesive and well-organised academic paper, such as: the relation between thinking and writing, establishing arguments, using logic and appropriate language in argumentative writing. The author considers writing as thinking made visible, as thinking in slow motion, a process whereby we can inspect and reflect on what we are thinking about. Writing doesn’t simply convey thought, it also forges it. It is a two-way street, both expressing and generating ideas.
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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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