Index: Fallacies of Distraction 
-or-
Known Mating Calls of the Wild Dittomonkey


   Next time you are debating your favorite conservative, here are some tips offering helpful insight why they never answer your exact questions: 
 

False Dilemma: two choices are given when in fact there are 
three options. 

From Ignorance: because something is not known to be true, it is 
assumed to be false.

Slippery Slope: a series of increasingly unacceptable 
consequences is drawn.

Complex Question: two unrelated points are conjoined as a single 
proposition.

Appeals to Motives in Place of Support
 

  • Appeal to Force: the reader is persuaded to agree by force
  • Appeal to Pity: the reader is persuaded to agree by sympathy 


Consequences: the reader is warned of unacceptable consequences

Prejudicial Language: value or moral goodness is attached to 
believing the author.

Popularity: a proposition is argued to be true because it is 
widely held to be true

Changing the Subject 

Attacking the Person: 

  •  the person's character is attacked 
  •  the person's circumstances are noted 
  •  the person does not practise what is preached
Appeal to Authority: 
  •  the authority is not an expert in the field 
  •  experts in the field disagree 
  •  the authority was joking, drunk, or in some other way not being serious
Anonymous Authority: the authority in question is not named.

Style Over Substance: the manner in which an argument (or 
arguer) is presented is felt to affect the truth of the conclusion.

Inductive Fallacies 
 

  • Hasty Generalization: the sample is too small to support an inductive generalization about a population 
  • Unrepresentative Sample: the sample is unrepresentative of the sample as a whole 
  • False Analogy: the two objects or events being compared are relevantly dissimilar 
  • Slothful Induction: the conclusion of a strong inductive argument is denied despite the evidence to the contrary 
  • Fallacy of Exclusion: evidence which would change the outcome of an inductive argument is excluded from consideration


Fallacies Involving Statistical Syllogisms 
 

  • Accident: a generalization is applied when circumstances suggest that there should be an exception 
  • Converse Accident : an exception is applied in circumstances where a generalization should apply 


Causal Fallacies
 

  • Post Hoc: because one thing follows another, it is held to cause the other 
  • Joint effect: one thing is held to cause another when in fact they are both 
  • the joint effects of an underlying cause 
  • Insignificant: one thing is held to cause another, and it does, but it is insignificant compared to other causes of the effect 
  • Wrong Direction: the direction between cause and effect is reversed 
  • Complex Cause: the cause identified is only a part of the entire cause of the effect 


Missing the Point 
 

  • Begging the Question: the truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises 
  • Irrelevant Conclusion: an argument in defense of one conclusion instead proves a different conclusion 
  • Straw Man: the author attacks an argument different from (and weaker than) the opposition's best argument


Fallacies of Ambiguity 
 

  • Equivocation: the same term is used with two different meanings 
  • Amphiboly: the structure of a sentence allows two different interpretations 
  • Accent: the emphasis on a word or phrase suggests a meaning contrary to what the sentence actually says 


Category Errors 
 

  • Composition: because the attributes of the parts of a whole have a certain property, it is argued that the whole has that property 
  • Division: because the whole has a certain property, it is argued that the parts have that property 


Non Sequitur 
 

  • Affirming the Consequent: any argument of the form: If A then B,  B, therefore A 
  • Denying the Antecedent: any argument of the form: If A then B, Not A, thus Not B 
  • Inconsistency: asserting that contrary or contradictory statements are both true


Syllogistic Errors 

  • Fallacy of Four Terms: a syllogism has four terms 
  • Undistributed Middle: two separate categories are said to be connected because they share a common property 
  • Illicit Major: the predicate of the conclusion talks about all of something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term in the predicate 
  • Illicit Minor: the subject of the conclusion talks about all of something, but the premises only mention some cases of the term in the subject 
  • Fallacy of Exclusive Premises: a syllogism has two negative premises 
  • Fallacy of Drawing an Affirmative Conclusion From a Negative Premise: as the name implies 
  • Existential Fallacy: a particular conclusion is drawn from universal premises


Fallacies of Explanation 
 

  • Subverted Support (The phenomenon being explained doesn't exist) 
  • Non-support (Evidence for the phenomenon being explained is biased) 
  • Untestability (The theory which explains cannot be tested) 
  • Limited Scope (The theory which explains can only explain one thing) 
  • Limited Depth (The theory which explains does not appeal to underlying causes) 


Fallacies of Definition 
 

  • Too Broad (The definition includes items which should not be included) 
  • Too Narrow (The definition does not include all the items which shouls be included) 
  • Failure to Elucidate (The definition is more difficult to understand than the word or concept being defined) 
  • Circular Definition (The definition includes the term being defined as a part of the definition) 
  • Conflicting Conditions (The definition is self-contradictory)