Improve Awareness Of Faulty Thinking And Avoid Thought Viruses
Carpe Diem!

On the quest for truth, be aware of the following 50+ logical errors/fallacies.
If you lack awareness, it is easy to be confused and mislead into reaching false conclusions. At the bottom of this alphabetical list are: (a) 4 common categories within which the fallacies can be grouped; (b) a list of references; and (c) a table of other web pages dealing with fallacies :-)

Abusive Personal Attack: (IR-h1)
...shifting attention away from facts by personally attacking the individual presenting the argument

Ambiguity/Unclear Meaning: (UR-d1)
...structuring the wording of a claim to create two or more possible meanings

Analogy, Faulty: (UR-e7)
...a comparison which is alike in some respects doesn't mean it is similar in other or all important respects

Authority (Questionable/Irrelevant): (IP-a4)
...using the opinion of an authority who may be unqualified in current field or biased

Before Therefore Cause/ Post Hoc: (IG-f6)
...assuming that if one event comes before another it is the cause of the second

Black & White/Either-Or/False Dilemma: (UR-e6)
...overlooking other answers by restricting choices (contraries as contradictions)

Change Meaning of Word (Equivocation): (UR-d4)
...shifting the meaning of a key word in an argument resulting in deception

Circular Argument/True By Definition: (UR-c1)
...using the conclusion as one of the premises (reassert conclusion without evidence)

Cliché/Aphorism: (IG-g4)
...covering for lack of evidence with cute phrase, parable, or story

Composition (Parts to Whole): (UR-e1)
...if each part has a quality the whole must have the same property (good players = good team)

Compromise/Moderation/Golden Mean: (UR-e4)
...assuming a moderate view is best because it is the middle or least offensive view

Confusing Necessary & Sufficient Condition: (IG-f2)
...meeting a necessary condition but not meeting all sufficient ones

Distinction without Difference: (UR-d3)
...attempting to distinguish from a similar losing argument with clever wording

Diversion (Whole to Parts): (UR-e3)
...if a whole has a property or quality then each part must also have it (good team = good player)

Domino Effect/Slippery Slope: (IG-f3)
...arguing against by linking a first decision with possible unproved negative future outcomes

Double Standard/ Special Pleading: (IG-g7)
...rule applies to you but it doesn't apply to me because of a poorly supported exception

Evidence, Denying: (IR-i1)
...refusing to seriously consider or acknowledge evidence which is opposition to claim

Evidence, Ignoring / (1 Sided Assessment): (IR-i2)
...ignoring negative evidence or omitting it as though it was not relevant

Evidence, Omission: (IG-g6)
...failing to include critical positive evidence which supports the claim being made

Fake Precision/Unknowable Statistic: (IG-g3)
...presenting mathematical precision or essentially unknowable statistics as fact

False Hypothesis/Predict "if": (IG-g2)
...stating as fact hypothetical claims about what would happen under different conditions

False Opposites /Illicit Contrast (not P -> not Q): (UR-e10)
...assuming an unstated related contrasting claim

Flattery/Excessive Praise: (IP-b7)
...providing praise or flattery instead of evidence

Force/Threat/Intimidation: (IP-b1)
...using intimidation or threat instead of presenting evidence or proper argument

Gambler's Fallacy/False Probability: (IG-f4)
...thinking past independent chance events effect the odds or probability of future events

Generalization (Sweeping)/General Principle Misuse: (UR-e9)
...assume no exceptions to general rule or use exception to disprove rule

Guilt By Association: (IP-b5)
...using a negative view of the company kept by an opponent instead of presenting evidence

Humor/Ridicule: (IR-j3)
...avoiding appropriate arguments by distracting with humor or attacking with ridicule

Ignorance, Arguing From: (IG-g1)
...stating a conclusion as true because it hasn't been proven false (or false because not proven true)

Innuendo/Suggestion without Evidence: (UR-d2)
...implicitly suggesting a claim without actually stating it (to discredit an argument)

Is-Ought/Status Quo/Inertia: (UR-e8)
...if it is done now, then it should continue or the reverse (if not done then don't start)

Label, Inference from: (IG-g5)
...using a label attached to a person or thing as a though it were a sufficient reason to reach a conclusion

Leading Question: (UR-c2)
...phrasing a question unfairly or in a biased manner to force desired answer

Loaded-Complex Question: (UR-c3)
...presenting assumptions/premises in a question which force acceptance regardless of the answer

Neglect Multiple Cause /Common Cause: (IG-f5)
...thinking one event causes another when both are actually effects of a separate cause

Novelty/New Is Good: (UR-e5) is good just because it is different from the past

Out Of Context/Improper Accent: (UR-d5)
...shifting tone of voice to alter meaning of a quote or presenting it out of context

Oversimplification: (IG-f1)
...using insufficient factors to account for an event

Past context Applied Now/Genetic: (IP-a3)
...using evaluation from past context and applying it to present changed context

Pity/Mercy: (IP-b3)
...appealing for special treatment based on sympathy as a distraction from relevant evidence

Poisoning The Well/Damning Source: (IR-h2)
...attacking motives to discredit possible future points (suggesting lying/hidden agenda)

Popular Opinion/Bandwagon/Polls/Everyone Does It: (IP-a1)
...urging acceptance or rejection of an argument because many others do

Rationalize/Believe Then Prove: (IP-a5)
...hiding real reasons for a position with better sounding false/weak ones

Red Herring/Side Issue: (IR-j2)
...attempting to divert attention from a weakness by presenting a distracting side issue

Sample, Insufficient: (IG-g8)
...reaching a conclusion about the whole population based on a sample that is too small

Sample, Unrepresentative: (IG-g9)
...using biased, exceptional, or an unrepresentative sample of a population to represent the whole

Self Interest/Personal Circumstance: (IP-b2)
...appealing to an opponent's personal interest or circumstance instead of a valid argument

Small Difference Irrelevant/ Continuum: (UR-e2)
...thinking a small change in a sequence doesn't matter so there is no true cut off point

Straw Man: (IR-j1)
...distorting or misrepresenting an opponent's argument in order to make it easier to refute or attack

Strong Feelings/Mob-Crowd Appeal: (IP-b6)
...appealing to mass enthusiasm or popular opinion with no supporting evidence

Tradition/Past is Best: (IP-b4)
...appealing to reverence or respect for tradition to avoid presenting evidence

Trivial Objection/Minor Point: (IR-j4)
...attacking a minor point as though it was a major one (believing this defeats whole argument)

Vague Expression: (UR-d6)
...assigning a very specific meaning to an opponent's vague term and then attacking the interpretation

Wrong Conclusion/Non-Sequitur: (IP-a2)
...presenting evidence for one conclusion and then stating another

You Do It To/Two Wrongs Make A Right: (IR-h3)
...suggesting a position is reasonable because your opponent acts in a similar way

The above list was compiled by a Paladin on a quest to act as a positive force by sharing knowledge, empowering others, advocating kindness, and providing encouragement today.
Carpe Diem! (ver 9512)


.....(a) Irrelevance/Unrelatedness
.....(b) Emotional Appeal

.....(c) Begging the Question
.....(d) Linguistic Confusion
.....(e) Unwarranted Assumption

.....(f) Causal
.....(g) Missing Evidence

.....(h) Attacking the Person
.....(I) Counter Evidence
.....(j) Diversion

A Rulebook for Arguments = Anthony Weston (0-87220-156-2)
Attacking Faulty Reasoning = T. Edward Damer (0-534-21750-8)
Beyond Feelings-Guide to Critical Thinking=Vincent Ruggiero (1-55934-357-5)
de Bono's Thinking Course = Edward de Bono (0-8160-3178-9)
Fallacies and Pitfalls of Language = S. Morris Engel (0-486-28274-0)
Informal Logic -Handbook for Critical Argu = Douglas Walton (0-521-37925-3)
Logic And Contemporary Rhetoric = Howard Kahane (0-534-16896-5)
Reason & Argumentation = Richard Feldman (0-13-767229-2)
The Elements of Reasoning = David Conway (0-534-51672-6)

Other Web Pages Dealing With Faulty Logic

Brian Yoder (friendly)

Stephen Downes (Complete)

San Jose St U (flashy_good)

James Stanger (9 ex long)

Jon Shemitz (11_ex)

Cederblom Paulsen (12_ex_good)

Brigham Young U (13_ex_short)

Matt Miller (14_ex)

Perry Greene (15_ex_short)

Longview CC (17_ex_long)

Thinking Page (18_ex_+_overview)

Luke Setzer (37_ex_good_layout)

Univ Nevada (42_ex_brief)

Nizkor/Labossiere (42_ex_very_good)

Diana Wash U (80_ex_brief)

Ohio State (1_slide_ea)

Just Thinking (overview_no_ex)

Aaron Delwiche (ex_propoganda)

IL State U (prim_layout)

Fergus Duniho (prim_but_detailed)

Peter Suber (many_links)

U Miami (other_links)