Appeals and fallacies in persuasion pdf

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Types of Logical Fallacies: Recognizing Faulty Reasoning

It is important to be able to evaluate what you read and hear. If you did not sort the credible from the incredible, the serious from the playful, the essential from the nonessential, the world would be full of conflicting and bewildering messages.

Critical thinking enables you to distinguish between fact and opinion and distinguish sound from faulty reasoning. One kind of faulty reasoning is a fallacy , a breakdown of logic. A fallacious argument is one that tries to argue from A to B, but because it contains hidden assumptions or factual irrelevancies, reaches an invalid conclusion. Another kind of faulty reasoning results from substituting emotion for thought.

Propaganda is an indirect message appealing primarily to emotion. It is aimed at forming opinions rather than increasing knowledge. Propaganda intends to persuade without offering a logical reason to adopt a particular view or take a particular action.

While the word itself carries rather a negative connotation implying intent to mislead or deceive the techniques can be used in good causes as well—a Cancer Society fundraiser, for example.

At least some propaganda techniques are used occasionally by non-profit organizations, advertisers, churches, news organizations, governments, and instructors.

For good or ill, makers of propaganda typically select facts most appropriate to their purpose and omit facts that do not help them achieve that purpose.

Because some propaganda uses facts albeit selectively , it can look like a reasoned argument. But because it fails to make a logical case, propaganda is often fallacious as well as emotional. Fallacies and propaganda devices are slippery by nature; they overlap, are often used in combination, and do not always fit neatly into one category or another.

Following are examples. An ad hominem fallacy redirects the discussion of an issue to a discussion of one of the subjects—to his or her personal failings, inconsistency, or bias.

For example, in a discussion of the pros and cons of privatizing Social Security, it would be an ad hominem attack simply to declare your opponent a parasite feeding on the lifeblood of the working class.

None of these response addresses the actual pros and cons of the proposal to privatize Social Security. Ad nauseum repetition is the stuff urban legends are made of. An appeal to belief suggests that, since most reasonable people of your sort believe something, you should believe it, too. An appeal to expertise dares you to pit your own ignorance against experts making a value claim a Grammy award-winning country singer publicly endorses a political candidate, for example.

Now, specialists agreeing on objective claims about matters within their field of expertise are reasonably to be believed, but specialists making value judgments outside their field might not. The problem with the appeal to indignation or anger is that anger is a poor substitute for reasoning.

On the contrary, anger clouds thinking. Certainly anger is sometimes justified, when it follows an argument that gives me grounds for anger, but anger is not the way to reach that conclusion. And anyway, sometimes we are angry for irrational reasons. Anger short-circuits the reasoning process, whereby we might have examined the figures and learned much to our surprise that education funding is up from last year—just not up as much as originally hoped.

Who has not seen the heartbreaking pictures of starving orphans with the request for donations to ease their plight? A valid appeal to pity has a direct link between the object of pity starving children and the desired action the money that can help feed them.

Appeal to popularity exploits the human desire to belong to a group. While there is nothing wrong with belonging to a group, some decisions are not group decisions, should be made without taking a head count, and should be held to even if they are unpopular. Politicians who waver from one position to another are sometimes trying to protect their jobs by appealing to the greatest number of voters based on changing poll information.

Sarcasm is always hostile. Appeal to ridicule tries to convince you to accept an argument in order to avoid becoming the butt of the joke. Whether it is blatant or subtle, ridicule essentially denies discussion.

Apple polishing is connecting compliments to unrelated issues. It urges someone to accept a claim in the afterglow of pleasure at the compliment.

You made me love math! I think I may change my major to math. I want to be just like you. Begging the question is a type of circular reasoning that presents as a true premise an assertion that actually requires its own proof. For example, a student complains bitterly that he failed the English composition exit exam. His implied premise is that his essay is, in fact, good enough to pass. But whether his essay is good enough to pass is, itself, the question.

Asserting that it is or implying that it is is not sufficient to prove that it is. Application of the test rubric, by trained test scorers—twice—would appear to conclude that it is not. Distribution fallacies arise two ways: In the composition fallacy , I know the characteristics of the whole, and wrongly attribute those characteristics to each of its parts.

Stereotyping of individuals may result from a composition fallacy. Suppose I have read statistics that attribute very strong business ambition to a certain demographic group. In its converse, the division fallacy , I know the characteristics of an individual or part, and wrongly attribute those characteristics to the whole.

However, the parts are not necessarily representative of the whole. Broad stereotyping of a group may result from the division fallacy. Suppose I have become acquainted with a man from Taiwan who is an extremely talented electrical engineer. I mistakenly conclude that all Taiwanese, as a group, are amazing electrical engineers. In a discussion on illegal immigration from Mexico to the U. To suggest that a discussion on immigration is simply a choice between the two extremes is a false dilemma.

Political surveys frequently pose questions positing false dilemmas, using loaded questions that are worded in such a way that the desired attitude is suggested in the question. The guilt by association fallacy muddles the process of fairly evaluating an idea, person, or group by interjecting irrelevant and misleading negative material.

Think of it as a kind of red herring below. This fallacy tries to connect ideas or persons to something unsavory or untrustworthy in order to discredit them. Be on guard when you see phrases like these:. It often happens when the sample is too small to support the conclusion.

For example, data compiled from 1, households, all in Nebraska, would probably be insufficient to accurately predict the outcome of a national election. Hasty generalization occurs, as well, when the sample is too biased to support the conclusion: Ten million households, selected from all fifty states, but all of them Libertarian or Democrat, or Republican , may also be insufficient to predict the result of a national election.

Another kind of hasty generalization occurs as the result of misleading vividness. It does not pretend to thoughtfully address issues or prove anything. The negative proof fallacy declares that, because no evidence has been produced, that therefore none exists. It is not sufficient to make the assertion and then shift the burden of proof to the listener to prove you wrong. It redirects a discussion to the faults of one of the parties.

Now the discussion is no longer about the merits of the tort reform bill at all, but about the personal qualities and motives of the other party.

A questionable cause fallacy is the result of incorrectly identifying the causes of events either by oversimplifying or by mistaking a statistical correlation for a cause. Mistaking correlation for cause can happen when unrelated events occur together, either by chance or because they are actually both results of yet another cause. For example, does eating more ice cream in the summer cause an increase in crime rates?

The rates for ice cream eating and violent crime both rise each summer. However, the statistical correlation notwithstanding, eating ice cream does not cause violent crime to increase. Rather, ice cream eating and crime may rise together as a result of a common cause—hot weather. He then paints a target around the thickest cluster of holes. He has taken statistically non-significant, random data and attributed to it a common cause.

The perennial attempts to find meaningful, hidden codes in the works of Shakespeare or the Bible or the works of Leonardo da Vinci illustrate the clustering illusion. Scare tactics create appeal from emotion. This company expects a high level of commitment; be here in the office finishing the proposal through the weekend. A warning differs from scare tactics because a warning is relevant to the issue. For example, it would be foolish to ignore the following warning:.

No late research papers will be accepted; you cannot pass the class without a passing grade on this paper. Slippery slope arguments conclude that, if an eventual, logical result of an action or position is bad, then the original action or position must be bad.

It is characteristic of a slippery slope argument that the final badness arrives in increments; thus, even though the badness could have been foreseen and may even have been inevitable, most of us are taken by surprise. Slippery slope arguments are common in social change issues. A slippery slope argument is not necessarily a fallacy. It becomes a fallacy when the chain of cause and effect breaks down.

If I cannot show you the reason why a causes b, and b causes c, and c causes d, my argument is fallacious. Often a historical precedent is cited as evidence that the chain of increasingly bad effects will occur. For example, there exist several historical precedents for the confiscation of guns by oppressive governments: in both Marxist and Nazi states, for example, the government confiscated the guns of citizens based on the registration records of those guns.

Gun aficionados in the U. However, as a simple matter of logic, a historical precedent alone does not make those results necessary or even probable in every case. Gun registration opponents could avoid the slippery slope fallacy if they could show the reason why registration leads inevitably to confiscation. Or, if gun registration opponents could demonstrate that the principle that favors registration of guns is the same principle that would allow confiscation of guns, the fallacy may be avoided.

The smokescreen fallacy responds to a challenge by bringing up another topic. Smokescreen or red herring fallacies mislead with irrelevant though possibly related facts:.

15 Logical Fallacies You Should Know Before Getting Into a Debate

Metrics details. This paper examines appeal to fear in general: its perceived positive aspects, its negative characteristics, its appropriate as well as its fallacious use. Appeal to fear is a commonly used marketing method that attempts to change behaviour by creating anxiety in those receiving a fearful message. It is regularly used in public health initiatives such as anti-smoking, anti-drunk driving campaigns as well as in hypertension awareness campaigns. Some chiropractors appear to use appeal to fear to promote subluxation awareness and thereby encourage the use of chiropractic treatment. Research supporting its use is equivocal; nevertheless, when used judiciously, appeal to fear probably has sufficient strengths to warrant its continued conditional use.

It is important to be able to evaluate what you read and hear. If you did not sort the credible from the incredible, the serious from the playful, the essential from the nonessential, the world would be full of conflicting and bewildering messages. Critical thinking enables you to distinguish between fact and opinion and distinguish sound from faulty reasoning. One kind of faulty reasoning is a fallacy , a breakdown of logic. A fallacious argument is one that tries to argue from A to B, but because it contains hidden assumptions or factual irrelevancies, reaches an invalid conclusion.

Persuasive speakers should be concerned with what strengthens and weakens an argument. Earlier we discussed the process of building an argument with claims and evidence and how warrants are the underlying justifications that connect the two. We also discussed the importance of evaluating the strength of a warrant, because strong warrants are usually more persuasive. Knowing different types of reasoning can help you put claims and evidence together in persuasive ways and help you evaluate the quality of arguments that you encounter. Further, being able to identify common fallacies of reasoning can help you be a more critical consumer of persuasive messages.


of Persuasion and Logical Fallacies. Student Name______________________________________________ Date___________________. Appeal to.


Appeal to fear in health care: appropriate or inappropriate?

Whether a fallacy is an error or a trick, whether it is formal or informal, its use undercuts the validity and soundness of any argument. Either the premises are untrue or the argument is invalid. Below is an example of an invalid deductive argument.

Fallacies are mistaken beliefs based on unsound arguments. They derive from reasoning that is logically incorrect, thus undermining an argument's validity. Fallacies are difficult to classify, due to their variety in application and structure.

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15 Logical Fallacies You Should Know Before Getting Into a Debate

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