- Logical fallacies are false assumptions used in discussions by people when they try to hide the fact that they do not have valid arguments.
- The Ad Hominem fallacy is one of the most used ones, and it merely works by attacking the person making an argument, not the argument itself.
- The appeal to authority is used by people when they want to appear knowledgeable, so they call upon the opinion of an authority on a subject, without stating their own.
What is a logical fallacy? The easiest way to explain it would be to say that it is a mistake in reasoning or a false assumption that happens often enough in everyday speech. This assumption often proves nothing or holds no value for the conversation or the debate, but it sounds impressive enough that people continue using it.
They are often intentional, but can sometimes be unintentional. Knowing how to recognize these fallacies is a nifty skill to have; it will help you hold your own in discussions. They are easy to overlook, but once you learn how to spot them, your life will be made easier.
This is especially important for college students because they need to be able to present valid arguments into every discussion and debate. It is hard to avoid mistakes such as flawed reasoning in those situations. Rhetorical mistakes also happen quite often. We can consider the majority of these mistakes made during debates in the classroom to be logical fallacies. This article will delve deeper into some of the most common ones and try to help you avoid making them.
The Alphabet Soup
We will end this list with a fallacy that is quite entertaining, but it is easy to fall into its traps, so be careful! The Alphabet Soup works by using as many abbreviations and acronyms as possible, to make yourself look like an expert on a subject. Often these abbreviations do not mean anything, or just do not add anything to the conversation, but by using them, it is easy to look like an expert.
The circular argument fallacy is often called the Vicious Circle. Why?
Because it works by just repeating the thing that was just said moments before, making the conversation just go in circles. It adds to nothing, other than for a person to say something. The person is just repeating whatever it is that was already said, and no new conclusion whatsoever is brought.
The Slippery Slope
Also known as the Domino theory, this fallacy takes a simple, moderate argument and takes it to an extreme. The name domino theory basically explains everything, because one little thing turns into something outrageous, similarly to how dominos fall over by pushing just one of them.
For example, imagine when a teenager tries to convince their parents to let them go to a party. They might say that all of their friends will hate them, and it will ruin their life if they are not allowed to go. Obviously, that will not happen, but it is a perfect example of the slippery slope fallacy.
The False Dilemma
This fallacy is sometimes called the false dichotomy, and it boils down to the reduction of an argument to only two possible options, even though there may be many more, some of which could potentially be far better than the two.
For instance, when someone says, “You are either with us or against us,” that is an example of a false dilemma since there is at least one other option you can choose from.
Appeal To Authority
Similar to the previously mentioned fallacy, an appeal to authority is widely abused, but most of the time, it does not prove anything. The person using an appeal to authority refuses to apply logic to their line of thought and chooses something just because a so-called “authority” on the matter said so. They cannot provide any evidence for their claim except whatever the authority said.
Appeal To Ignorance
An appeal to ignorance is often used in many arguments, but it does not serve any sort of purpose. It does nothing but proves someone does not know something, and that is it. Of course, no one knows everything, and we will often be in a situation where we’re not knowledgeable about a subject, but that does not mean we should use our ignorance as an argument.
People often use this logical fallacy to reinforce several contradictory conclusions at the same time. Whenever an argument can support mutually exclusive claims, that means the argument itself is faulty.
You have probably heard of this one before. The strawman argument is someone attacking a position their opponent does not really stand for. The person does not have real arguments, so they choose to attack a “lifeless, harmless bundle of straw,” something that their opponent in the debate never had the intention of defending.
It is mostly used by people when they want to make their own opinion seem stronger than it actually is. You will often see the strawman argument used together with the Ad Hominem fallacy.
Ad Hominem Fallacies
When discussing an important topic with someone, it is crucial to avoid personal attacks. Not only is that rude, but it also makes it seem like the person using personal attacks lacks any other valid arguments.
This brings us to the Ad Hominem logical fallacy, which is a fallacy where a person tries to reject or disapprove another person’s view based solely on personal characteristics, physical appearance, or anything else that is not relevant to the topic of the conversation. The name Ad Hominem is derived from Latin, and it means “against the man.”
Please try to avoid doing this, and actually inform yourselves on the subjects you are talking about.