logical fallacy worksheet

Logical Fallacy Worksheet: for detailed descriptions, see “Avoiding Flawed Logic” (pp. 337-)

definition: fallacy: an error of reasoning based on faulty use of evidence or incorrect inference (interpretation of the facts)

  1. hasty generalization (338) — drawing a conclusion based on insufficient evidence. Example: The stock market went down after I invested in an IRA, so therefore I should stop investing in the stock market.

your example.:__________________________________________________________


2. post hoc or doubtful cause (338-9) –one event follows another, but it may not be caused by the other event.

Example: When I bring an umbrella to school, it does not rain. Because I have an umbrella, that is the reason it does not rain.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________


3. false analogy (340) –a comparison is drawn between two situations that are not parallel

Example: Producing meat can be as efficient as producing cars in a factory.

your ex.: ___________________________________________________________

4. ad hominem (341)–an unfair attack on the person giving the opinion that is not related to the subject at hand

Example: How can Mitt Romney be a good president if he speaks French?

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

5. false dilemma (342)–the arguer implies that only two alternatives are available

Example: We should either keep building up troop levels or pull out completely.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

6. slippery slope (342)–an arguer suggests that one step will lead to a worse step, but she should provide evidence to back up this claim

Example: If we allow hate speech in school, pretty soon schools will be overrun with chaos and violence.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

7. begging the question (343)–the arguer makes a statement assuming the issue in question has already been proven

Example: Standardized testing will improve education by making schools better.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

8. straw man (343-4)–the arguer attacks a view that is similar but different from that of his opposition—often something that is easier to knock down

Example: Those who want to regulate hate speech do not care about protecting free speech.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

9. faulty use of authority (338)–could be a faulty use of expert opinions.

Example: Because Paul Newman was a famous actor, he must make good salad dressings.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

10. non sequitur (345)–it does not follow—the arguer gives a reason that does not support his claim

Example: Because she did not respond to my email, she does not like me.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

11. Tu Quoque (Two Wrongs Make a Right) (344)–”you too”–the arguer says that it is hypocritical for you to criticize me if you are doing the same thing.

Example: How can you ask me to stop smoking when you eat too many sweets?

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

12. distorting the facts –facts can be distorted or left unreported for the benefit of the person doing the distorting.

Example: Although the company knew the peanut butter was contaminated, they shipped it anyway as if it were safe.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

13. oversimplification –generalizing in a way that exaggerates or oversimplifies the truth.

Example: If you try hard enough, you will succeed.

your ex.: ____________________________________________________________

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