Ten Logical Fallacies that Appeal to Mind

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Appeal to Probability

Description Also known as possibiliter ergo probabiliter. When possibility is confused with probability and then probability with certainty. Just because something is possible it implies the probability in this fallacy.

Argument Form X is probable therefore X is certain.

Example! Earth is just one planet among billions of others. It cannot be the only planet with intelligent life on it.

Appeal to Tradition

Description Also known as argumentum ad antiquitatem, appeal to antiquity or appeal to common practice this logical fallacy deems an argument valid on basis of correlation with past or present tradition.

Argument Form X has been done for a long time therefore X is right, good or unchangeable.

Example! This medicine has been used since ancient times therefore it must be effective to treat this disease.

Appeal to Popular Belief

Description Also known as bandwagon approach, appeal to majority, vox populi, social confirmance fallacy. It holds something to be true just because the majority of people believe it to be so.

Argument Form A lot of people believe X to be true, good, or correct and therefore it must be true, good, or correct

Example! Everyone already believes that the defendant killed her husband, and that many people can't be wrong.

Appeal to Novelty

Description This fallacy claims something to be better or good just because it's new.

Argument Form X has always been around. Y is new, therefore, Y is better than X

Example! Have you seen the new product X that just came out? It must be so much faster and better than the old one.

Appeal to Money

Description This fallacy supposes that if someone is rich or something is expensive, that affects the truth of the claim.

Argument Form X costs a lot therefore X must be good. X is rich there X must be right. X is wealthy and therefore respectable.

Example! How can this guy be successful when he wears such cheap clothes!?

Appeal to Incredulity

Description An argument that claims something to be true just because one can not imagine or believe it to be untrue or vice versa.

Argument Form I can't imagine how X could be true, therefore, X is false.

Example! The claim that life evolved from bacteria to humans doesn't make any sense to me, therefore the theory of evolution must be false.

Appeal to Ignorance

Description A claim is true simply because it has not been proven false (or false because it has not been proven true.

Argument Form There is no evidence against X, therefore, X is true. There is no evidence to support Y, therefore, Y is false.

Example! If someone is guilty, they always try to deny their guilt. This man has never said that he is not guilty, and therefore he must be innocent. “You can’t prove that you are innocent, therefore you are guilty to me.”

Appeal to Common Practice

Description Claiming something is true or right because it's commonly practiced.

Argument Form Every one does X therefore X is right.

Example! Every student cheats; I am just the unlucky one who got caught. So what if we have rise in rape cases; which country doesn't have them?

Appeal to Authority

Description Claiming something is true or right because a person holding authority says so.

Argument Form According to person A, who is an expert on the issue of Y, Y is true, therefore, Y is true.

Example! Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and perhaps the foremost expert in the field, says that evolution is true. Therefore, it's true.

Appeal to Anonymous Authority

Description Claiming something is true or right because an unnamed or unknown authority and expert says so.

Argument Form experts claim X to be true therefore X is true.

Example! They say that it takes 7 years to digest chewing gum.


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