A logical fallacy is any mistake in reasoning that renders your argument unconvincing. It is imperative to recognize the most used fallacies and develop your own. People take you more seriously when you make arguments with consistent logic.
Here are the most used fallacies:
People who commit anecdotal fallacy derive their argument from personal experiences instead of concrete facts and data. Emotions take precedence over logic for such people. They conveniently overlook that one person’s personal experience is not enough to back up a claim. What turned out to be true for one person may not be the case for others.
‘Whenever I use Slack to communicate with my co-workers, it just doesn’t work. Maybe, they should overhaul the system for the entire company.’
The reasoning behind this fallacy is that something must be true if many people concur with it. It is considered a fallacy because something might not necessarily be right or true just because it is widely accepted. Such arguments don’t consider whether the population validating the argument is qualified to do so or whether there is opposing evidence. You may be more susceptible to peer pressure if you hold on to this kind of fallacy.
‘Majority of people think that gold is the best investment. So, it must be the best investment strategy.’
The straw man fallacy is a type of argument that is weak and unconvincing, hence its name. It happens when the person opposing you claims that you aren’t even attempting to make it. They frequently misrepresent or change the points you are making when using this tactic. They are attacking a weaker or wholly false version of what you meant, rather than debating your actual argument.
George: ‘I prefer hamburgers over pizza.’
Lisa: ‘Well, you must hate pizza then.’
George never implied that he hates pizza. He just stated his preference for hamburgers.
This fallacy occurs when people think correlation and causation are equivalent. Correlations frequently result from chance events or external factors. They don’t necessarily imply that something is causing another directly. Even though this argument may seem simple to recognize in theory, proving it in practice can be difficult.
‘It rains whenever I go outside. So it must rain because I go outside.’
False Dilemma Fallacy
This fallacy asserts that all disagreements can be reduced to two opposing points of view. There are a variety of viewpoints and opinions on most topics. The majority of the time, disagreements between two arguments are more fluid and nuanced than one might assume. This type of fallacy has the main disadvantage of making the other side appear unreasonable. Those who make this type of argument attempt to make their opponent appear more extreme rather than to reach a compromise.
‘We will have to either go with Nick’s plan or let the project fail because we don’t have any other option.’
This fallacy occurs when a piece of weak evidence is used to make an argument instead of extensive research and reliable data. People who make such arguments cherry-pick a few important details that happen to support their argument. Even though one piece of evidence can support their claim, they neglect to address any potential objections or other types of evidence that could refute their arguments.
‘My brother never helped me with household chores growing up. So, all men are probably of no use in the house.’
Slothful Induction Fallacy
People who base their claim on a coincidence or something completely unrelated while ignoring substantial evidence commit this fallacy. Despite the evidence or research that backs an argument, people making this fallacy conveniently ignore it.
‘John has been in six accidents in the past six months. Yet he refuses to accept that it was due to his negligence.’
Middle Ground Fallacy
Those who make this kind of argument think that the best course of action must be to reach an agreement between two opposing viewpoints. They might not know that there might be better options that have nothing to do with those two opposing viewpoints. Finding a middle ground might not be the best course of action since these arguments may be wholly untrue.
‘According to Robin, all cats can fly. Sasha claims that there are no flying cats. So they agree that some cats might be able to fly.’
The Burden of Proof Fallacy
When you assume something is true just because there isn’t any evidence to the contrary, you are committing the burden of proof fallacy. The proponents of this argument contend that there are no other sources that contradict their ideas and opinions, so their ideas and opinions must be true.
‘Laura believes that ghosts exist. Matt tells her that there is no proof that ghosts exist. So, Laura informs Matt that there is no evidence that they don’t exist.’
The Appeal to Authority Fallacy
People who fall prey to this fallacy place too much faith in one person’s ideas or opinions. It becomes obvious when the person is debating an issue outside of their area of expertise. Asking someone in a position of authority to back up your claim can be an effective debate strategy, but if done incorrectly, it can also be deceptive. While it may be a part of your argument, you should also support your claims with research-based facts and figures.
‘An advertisement claims that a particular brand of cereal is the ideal way to begin the day because athlete Michael Jordan says it is what he eats for breakfast every day.’
Ad Hominem Fallacy
When you attack someone personally rather than using logic to refute their argument, you are committing an ad hominem fallacy. You criticize the other’s point of view by attacking their physical appearance, personal traits, or other irrelevant characteristics. Institutions or groups can also be targeted in these attacks.
‘Marx’s ideas are no longer relevant for this era because the technologies we employ today would have been unimaginable to him.’
The Ending Note
It is crucial to learn how to identify logical fallacies when they occur because it helps navigate through disputes in personal and professional settings easily. We hope that you like reading this article “Most Used Fallacies”.