Appendix:Glossary of fallacies

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This is a glossary of fallacies—arguments, or apparent arguments, that professes to be decisive of the matter at issue, while in reality it is not.

Table of Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


ad hominem 
Attacking the person instead of the argument; a fallacious objection to an argument or factual claim by appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.
affirming the consequent 
A formal fallacy, committed by reasoning in the form:

If P, then Q.


Therefore, P.

appeal to authority 
where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it.
appeal to emotion 
where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning
appeal to probability 
because something could happen, it is inevitable that it will happen. This is the premise on which Murphy's Law is based.
appeal to ridicule 
A logical fallacy of presenting the opponent's argument in a way that appears ridiculous, often to the extent of creating a straw man of the actual argument.
appeal to spite 
A specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite towards an opposing party.
argumentum ad populum 
A fallacious conclusion that a proposition is true because many or all people believe it.


begging the question 
A fallacy in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises.


fallacy fallacy 
A fallacious judgment from the falsity of a proof to the falsity of a statement to be proved.
false analogy 
An informal fallacy applying to inductive arguments, in which the similarity in one regard of two concepts, objects, or events is taken as sufficient for the conclusion that they are similar in a regard, in which they in fact are dissimilar.
false dilemma 
where two alternative statements are held to be the only possible options, when in reality there are several


genetic fallacy 
A fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context.
guilt by association 
A fallacious reasoning consisting of judging on the guilt of a person from the guilt of her associates.


negative proof 
A fallacious judgment that because a premise cannot be proven true, that premise must be false.


poisoning the well 
A logical fallacy where information is presented in order to produce a biased result. It is a special case of argumentum ad hominem.
proof by example 
A logical fallacy consisting of providing one or more examples as a proof of a more general statement.


red herring 
An argument, given in reply, that does not address the original issue; a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument.
reductio ad Hitlerum 
A fallacious judgment on the wrongness of a property of a person or the wrongness of an idea from the fact that it is a property of Hitler or an idea that Hilter proposed.
retrospective determinism 
A fallacy consisting in reasoning that because something happened, it was therefore bound to happen.


straw man 
An informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to describe a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view but is easier to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent (for example, deliberately overstating the opponent's position).

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