The  devices of pseudo-argumentation, logical fallacies are generally divided into two basic categories:

  • fallacies of insufficient evidence    and
  • fallacies of relevance

fallacies of insufficient evidence (improper authorities and sources):

  • appeal to an unreliable authority (argumentum ad vericundium)
  • appeal to ignorance (argumentum at ignorantiam)
  • “slippery slope” argument (false cause with subsequent conclusions)
  • weak analogy (analogy is not a proof)
  • inappropriate appeal to authority (the arguer is an authority, but in some other field)
  • the claim conflicts with expert opinion
  • biased authority (the arguer is biased and subjective)
  • unreliable source
  • the source has not been cited correctly or has been taken out of context
  • anecdotal fallacy

fallacies of relevance (the arguments are logically irrelevant to the conclusion and rely on an emotional appeal)

  • appeal to the people (argumentum ad populum) – manipulating people’s values and beliefs:
    • bandwagon argument (to feel like a part of a crowd)
    • appeal to vanity and snobbery (to feel like admired and famous people)
  • against the person (argumentum ad hominem) – not the argument/claim, but its author is being criticized; this also includes
    • “you too”/ “look who’s talking” (ad quoque) tactic
    • “two wrongs make a right” (they are wrong, so if I’m wrong, too, that is excusable)
  • appeal to force (argumentum at baculum)
  • appeal to pity (argumentum at misericordiam)
  • appeal to emotion
  • appeal to fear
  • appeal to novelty
  • appeal to poverty
  • appeal to wealth
  • appeal to an accident (overgeneralizing one specific case)
  • “straw man” (the opponent’s argument is distorted in order to                                               make it easier to attack)
  • “red herring” and “missing the point” (ignoratio elenchi) (sidetracking the audience by an irrelevant issue, supporting a different conclusion)
  • “attacking the motive” (criticizing the author’s motives)
  • equivocation (using ambiguity and shifts of meaning)
  • begging the question (petitio principii) (assuming as a premise the thing he or she is trying to prove as a conclusion).
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