Logical Fallacies: 15 Examples of Common Fallacies

Author Agnes Walter

Posted Apr 10, 2023

Reads 3.2K

Color swatches palette

Have you ever been in a discussion or argument and felt like your opponent's reasoning didn't quite make sense? Perhaps they were using a logical fallacy. Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning that can make an argument seem valid, but are actually flawed. Understanding logical fallacies is important to avoid being persuaded by faulty arguments.

In this article, we will explore 15 common examples of logical fallacies. By identifying these fallacies, you'll be better equipped to spot them in everyday conversations, debates or even news articles. You don't need to be a logic expert to understand logical fallacies - with some basic knowledge, anyone can learn to recognize them.

By learning about logical fallacies, you'll not only be able to detect when someone is using a flawed argument, but also improve your own reasoning abilities. So let's dive into the world of logical fallacy and explore 15 common examples.

Discovering the Meaning Behind Logical Fallacy: An Overview

Logical fallacies are everywhere around us, and they can be easily missed if we don't pay close attention. A logical fallacy sounds like a reasonable argument at first, but once you start to break it down, obvious inconsistencies begin to surface. Understanding common logical fallacies is an important part of critical thinking because it makes sense of the rhetorical strategies used in everyday discussions.

Yellow, Orange, and Green 3x3 Rubik's Cube

Detecting logical fallacies requires an undetected understanding of the different types that exist. Examples include ad hominem attacks, false dilemma, slippery slope, and straw man arguments. By being aware of these types, one can avoid falling prey to them and spot them in conversations with others or even in the media. In conclusion, discovering the meaning behind logical fallacy is crucial for anyone who wants to avoid flawed reasoning and engage in constructive debates while making informed decisions.

What Do Common Logical Mistakes Look Like?

Numenius arquata with light brown feather and long thin beak walking on sand on daylight on blurred background

Logical mistakes, or fallacies, can take many forms. Some common examples include the ad hominem fallacy, where someone attacks the character of their opponent instead of addressing their argument; the straw man fallacy, where someone misrepresents their opponent's argument to make it easier to attack; and the false dilemma fallacy, where someone presents only two options when there are actually more. By understanding these fallacies listed and others like them, we can avoid committing them ourselves and better evaluate arguments made by others.

1. Hasty generalization

Hasty generalization is a logical fallacy where a sweeping conclusion is made based on a small sample. It's like making assumptions about all people who wear glasses because the only glasses-wearing people you know are librarians. This fallacy can lead to small stereotypes, such as assuming that all smart wealthy people are selfish. The principle underlying hasty generalization can be learned in philosophy classes, where peoples' experiences are used to caution against making sweeping conclusions without proper evidence. So next time you notice yourself making a modest conclusion based on a small sample - think twice before jumping to a hasty generalization.

2. Missing the point

"Missing the point" is a common logical fallacy example that often arises in discussions about drunk driving. When someone argues against imposing the death penalty specifically for drunk driving because it doesn't support killing innocent people, they are missing the point. The objective person can see that this extreme conclusion tips separate from the evidence missing and what you're claiming. It's important to recognize these types of fallacies to avoid being led astray from the actual argument at hand.

3. Post hoc (also called false cause)

The Latin phrase post hoc ergo propter hoc translates to "after this, therefore because of this," which refers to the logical fallacy of assuming that because one event happened after another, it must have caused it. Correlation isn't always causation, and just because President Jones raised taxes before violent crime rates increased doesn't mean the tax increase produced higher crime rates. To avoid committing the post hoc fallacy, we need to carefully examine evidence and ensure that our argument hasn't shown that events that happen at the same time aren't necessarily connected.

4. Slippery slope

The slippery slope is a tricky fallacy that many arguers fall victim to. It occurs when the arguer claims that one action will lead to a chain reaction of dire consequences, without sufficient reason to believe that those events will necessarily occur. For example, an arguer asserts that if we don't respect animal life by experimenting on them, it will lead to violent acts towards humans. However, the post hoc slippery slope fails to recognize that stopping partway down the slope is always an option. Don't fail English 101 - check out more logical fallacy examples and learn how to spot them like a pro!

5. Weak analogy

A weak analogy is when arguments rely on objects or ideas that are compared but aren't relevant in all respects. For example, the argument based on metal parts to restrict guns is equally ridiculous as claiming that purchasing guns with feature hammers will kill large numbers of people. Just because two things share some similarities doesn't prove they're the same, like comparing being stuck inside to drowning in a mud puddle. To identify a weak analogy, consider the claim you're making and the things you're comparing to determine if they truly share enough similarities in relevant respects.

6. Appeal to authority

In the world of debating, appealing to authority can add strength to your argument. However, it's important to choose respected sources rather than relying on supposed authority. For example, just because "actor guy handsome" publicly stated his opinion on the death penalty doesn't necessarily make him an expert on the subject you're discussing. To avoid committing appeal to authority, it's best to stick with fairly neutral and respected people in the field whose reputation speaks for themselves. Easy ways like this can help ensure that your argument remains strong and logical.

7. Ad populum

The "ad populum fallacy" is one of the most common versions of logical fallacies. This fallacy means that the arguer takes advantage of the fact that a substantial number of people believe something to be true. The bandwagon fallacy is a great example of this, where people follow popular opinion because they want to be seen as cool or recommended by others. However, just because something is popular doesn't determine its validity, so it's always important to tip make sure you think for yourself and aren't recommending ideas like "gay marriages" just because they seem cool.

8. Appeal to pity

"Pity takes place when someone tries to manipulate their audience's emotions instead of presenting logical facts. It's a fallacious argument that isn't graded based on the strength of evidence or reasoning, but rather on how much sympathy can be generated. For example, if someone says that they've had a hard week and deserve a good grade even though they didn't study, that information isn't logically relevant. A tip to make sure you aren't simply appealing to pity is to focus on facts and logic rather than emotions."

9. Appeal to ignorance

"Appeal to ignorance" is a logical fallacy people often commit when they argue that something must be true because there is no conclusive evidence proving it false. For instance, an arguer basically claims that God exists because qualified researchers using well-thought-out methods have been searching for a long time, but haven't found any evidence that he doesn't exist. However, just because we haven't found something yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. On the other hand, just because we haven't found something yet does not essentially prove that it exists heres where the opposing argument comes in – it's a positive claim without proper evidence.

10. Straw man

The straw man fallacy is when an arguer sets up a weak version of their opponent's position in order to score points by defeating it. The problem with this tactic is that the straw man isn't the opponent's argument at all - it's a watered-down version that has been made weak on purpose. Arguers who use this fallacy haven't strongly, accurately represented their opponents' argument and instead resort to harsh measures like outright bans or suing publishers. Surely inappropriate, but unfortunately common - even in debates about non-pornographic topics such as feminist arguments.

11. Red herring

A red herring is a logical fallacy example that occurs when someone raises a tangent, side issue or an irrelevant point to distract their audience from the original issue. It's not uncommon for people to use this tactic, but it's not a fair thing to do. The definition partway explains what's wrong with the situation: it doesn't necessarily make sense to stray away from the main point. Premise-conclusion outlining and conclusion grading are techniques that help people understand if what they're saying is valid. Those premise classes and outline-like forms are pretty obvious and can help with fair fairness in students agreeing on specific things.

12. False dichotomy

Have you ever heard of the logical fallacy called "false dichotomy"? This is when an arguer sets up a situation where there are only two options, when in reality there are more alternatives. For example, if someone says that Caldwell Hall is in such bad shape that we shouldn't hold classes there because it risks students' safety, this argument neglects to consider the fact that we should protect students but also find alternatives. Just because Caldwell Hall is in bad shape, doesn't mean we should risk anyone's safety. So, before accepting an argument that presents a false dichotomy, tip examine if the alternatives don't exist or haven't been mentioned.

13. Begging the question

"Begging the question" is a complicated fallacy that's often used in arguments. This phrase refers to when an arguer hasn't provided any good reasons for their conclusion, but simply ignores this fact by making a questionable assumption. The fallacies we've discussed basically all follow the same premise-conclusion form and "beg the question" in some way. For example, when arguing that active euthanasia is morally acceptable because it's a decent ethical thing to do to help someone escape suffering, the arguer hasn't actually provided any real evidence or reasons why active euthanasia is morally acceptable. The argument begs the real question: Is active euthanasia morally acceptable?

14. Equivocation

Equivocation is a logical fallacy where a single word or phrase is used with two different meanings in an argument consistently. This fallacy can be deliberately sneakily equivocated to manipulate the listener's perception. For example, if someone says "I believe in freedom, justice and rights," but then uses the same words to justify not giving money to charity, they might be using equivocation. To identify this fallacy, it's important to pay attention to the main terms being used and make sure they aren't slipping between meanings.

Discover the Purpose of This Informative Resource

Firewood Lot

Discover the Purpose of This Informative Resource: Logical Fallacy Examples. This handout discusses common logical fallacies and provides definitions examples to help readers recognize these errors in reasoning. By understanding logical fallacies, readers can develop critical thinking skills and avoid being swayed by faulty arguments. Whether you're a student or a professional, this resource is essential for anyone who wants to improve their analytical abilities and make more informed decisions. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of logical fallacies and how to identify them.

Refine Your Skills: Is it Possible to Practice with This?

Is it possible to practice with logical fallacies examples? Absolutely! In fact, practicing identifying and avoiding logical fallacies is essential to refining your skills in constructing a well-constructed argument. By analyzing a sample argument and identifying the various logical fallacies present, you can strengthen your own reasoning abilities and avoid making similar mistakes in your own arguments. So, grab some logical fallacy examples and start practicing today!

Exploring Misleading Arguments - Understanding Fallacies

Understanding fallacies is important for everyone because it can help us identify and label arguments that weaken our understanding of an issue. Fallacious reasoning can be found everywhere from newspapers advertisements to strong sections of books, making it easy for a casual reader to be misled. By exploring misleading arguments and learning about logical fallacies examples, we can strengthen our ability to make read critically and identify strong end convincing arguments. With this knowledge, we can find dozens of ways to avoid being misled by fallacious arguments in our daily lives.

Discovering Flaws in Your Own Writing: How to Find Fallacies

Discovering flaws in your own writing is an essential skill for any writer. One of the most common mistakes writers make is not identifying fallacies in their arguments. Finding fallacies can be challenging, but there are general tips that can help you identify them.

First, double check the evidence laid out to support your main points. Is it good evidence or just weak analogies? Secondly, pay attention to the sweeping words and broad claims used in your writing. Less-sweeping claims are more likely to be supported by evidence you're laying out. Thirdly, attack the conclusion you're defending and give special attention to fallacies you're prone to making like straw men read.

Writers make lots of mistakes when they don't apply these tips while searching for fallacies. Therefore, it's important to find these errors before somebody else does. By paying attention to good evidence, less-sweeping claims, and avoiding weak analogies and straw men read; you'll be able to discover fallacies in your writing easily. Once identified, you can take steps to fix them or rework your argument completely.

Uncover the Different Types of Logical Fallacies

"Uncover the Different Types of Logical Fallacies" to better understand how they can be used to manipulate our thinking. Some common examples include ad hominem, straw man, false dilemma, and slippery slope. Ad hominem attacks the person instead of their argument, straw man misrepresents an opponent's argument, false dilemma presents a limited set of options as the only choices available, and slippery slope suggests that one action will inevitably lead to another extreme outcome. Being able to identify these logical fallacies can help us think critically and spot when someone is trying to deceive us.

1. 1 Ad hominem

Have you ever been in an argument where instead of addressing the opponent's position based on facts or evidence, they attack your personal trait? That's called an ad hominem fallacy, and it's a bad choice. It diverts attention from the real issue and doesn't contribute anything to the debate. Don't be that person who resorts to personal attacks just because you didn't grow enough arguments to support your claim.

2. 2 Red herring

Have you ever been in an argument where the other person suddenly brings up an irrelevant point? That's called a red herring. It's a logical fallacy where someone tries to shift focus away from the main topic by bringing up something unrelated, like the tooth fairy. It's important to recognize and call out red herrings in arguments to stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant points.

3. 3 Straw man

A straw man argument is when someone creates a hyperbolic inaccurate version of their opponent's argument and then argues against that instead of the actual argument. For example, Erin thinks that climate change is real and needs to be addressed, but her opponent argues against the idea that the climate is changing at all. This logical fallacy can be used to mislead people and avoid engaging in meaningful debate. Keep reading for more examples of common logical fallacies.

4. 4 Equivocation

Equivocation is a logical fallacy where a statement is crafted with unclear phrasing or multiple meanings to confuse readers. It's often used when there isn't a clear plan or argument to support one's position. For example, during debates about campus budget, an opponent may simply accuse their rival of wanting to throw money at special interest projects without specifying how each dollar spent would benefit the students. This tactic can be frustrating for those seeking clarity and transparency in decision-making processes.

5. 5 Slippery slope

The slippery slope fallacy occurs when an arguer claims that a specific series of events will occur because of one starting point. Typically, the arguer lacks supporting evidence to back up their claim, and this is where the fallacy comes into play. For example, if Bijal's service dog is allowed in a restaurant, then soon everyone will bring their pets and it'll be chaos. This type of argument lacks logical reasoning and can lead to poor decision-making if taken seriously without supporting evidence.

6. 6 Hasty generalization

Hasty generalization is a logical fallacy that occurs when a statement is made based on insufficient evidence or limited personal experience. Making broad conclusions without extensive research constitutes hasty generalizations. For example, just because one person felt nauseated after eating pizza does not mean that all pizza makes people sick. Want to learn more about common logical fallacies? Keep reading!

7. 7 Appeal to authority

One common logical fallacy is the appeal to authority, where an arguer claims something must be true because an authority figure says so. For example, just because a fitness blog claims that you should stop drinking coffee doesn't mean it's actually bad for you. It's important to critically examine the authority figures' expertise before accepting their claims as truth. Keep reading to learn more about other types of logical fallacies examples.

8. 8 False dilemma

A false dilemma, also known as a false dichotomy claim, is when only two extreme opposites are presented as options and it's assumed that no other reasonable options exist. These claims don't support critical thinking and often leave out important details. Keep reading for more examples of logical fallacies to help you become a better thinker.

9. 9 Bandwagon fallacy

The bandwagon fallacy is when an arguer claims that something must be true or good because everyone else believes it or is doing it. This type of reasoning can be tempting to follow, but just because a lot of people agree with something doesn't necessarily make it right. It's important to evaluate arguments on their own merit rather than blindly following the crowd.

10. 10 Appeal to ignorance

Appeal to ignorance is a proof fallacy where the absence of evidence is taken as proof of something. For instance, just because no one has proven false that fairies living in your garden, it doesn't mean they do exist. On the other hand, just because no one has proven true that fairies aren't living in your garden, it doesn't mean they are real either. Stay tuned for more logical fallacies examples!

11. 11 Circular argument

A circular argument is a type of logical fallacy where the conclusion is included in the premise. It's like saying "broccoli is the easiest vegetable because it's the easiest to cook." But why is it the easiest to cook? Because it's the easiest vegetable! Circular arguments can be tricky to spot, but understanding them can help you avoid making them yourself.

12. 12 Sunk cost fallacy

The sunk cost fallacy is a common logical fallacy where an arguer justifies continuing to invest in something based on the money they've already put into it, even if it no longer makes sense. For example, someone might finish reading a book they don't enjoy simply because they've already invested time in it. To learn about other examples of logical fallacies, keep reading.

13. 13 Appeal to pity

The 13th logical fallacy example is the appeal to pity. It's when someone tries to win over the listeners' opinion by using pity attempts, often at a late made stage in an argument. This can be tricky as emotions can fog rational thinking, so it's important to be aware of this fallacy and not let it affect your judgment. Keep reading for more examples of logical fallacies!

14. 14 Causal fallacy

A causal fallacy occurs when a cause-and-effect relationship is assumed without sufficient evidence. For example, some people believe that buying ice cream increases the likelihood of shark attacks. While it's true that ice cream sales and shark attacks may both increase during the summer months, there is no evidence to suggest that one causes the other. To learn more about common logical fallacies, keep reading!

15. 15 Appeal to hypocrisy

The list covers many logical fallacies, including the tu quoque fallacy (also known as "you too" or "appeal to hypocrisy"). This type of fallacy involves using reactive criticism to avoid taking responsibility for one's own actions. Other examples of logical fallacies include the true scotsman fallacy and the texas sharpshooter fallacy (cherry-picking data to support a preconceived conclusion). By understanding these broad body of logical fallacies, we can work towards reaching more informed and accurate conclusions.

Get Clued in on Examples of Logical Fallacies

What are logical fallacies? They're errors in reasoning that people often use to persuade others. It's important to be aware of them, as they can lead you down the wrong path. One common logical fallacy is the hypocrisy appeal, where someone accuses another person of doing something wrong while ignoring their own similar behavior. For example, if your dad scolded you for getting a speeding ticket but he has also gotten one in the past.

Another example of a logical fallacy is the sunk cost fallacy, where someone continues with a failing project or investment because they've already invested so much time and effort into it. A third type of logical fallacy is the appeal to ignorance, which states that something must be true because no evidence exists to disprove it. An example of this is when someone claims that aliens don't exist simply because we haven't found any evidence of them.

Logical fallacies are present in our everyday speech and reading online discussions. It's important to educate ourselves on these fallacies so we can recognize them when we encounter them. The good news is that there are many resources available online that list out the various categories of logical fallacies and provide examples of each one. By taking the time to learn about logical fallacies and how they can be used to manipulate us, we can become better critical thinkers and make more informed decisions in all areas of our lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a formal logical fallacy?

A formal logical fallacy is an error in the structure or form of an argument that makes it invalid. It occurs when a conclusion does not follow from its premises, regardless of the truth or falsity of those premises.

What are some example of fallacy?

Some examples of fallacy include ad hominem (attacking the person instead of the argument), straw man (misrepresenting someone's argument), and false dilemma (presenting only two options when there are more).

What is either or fallacy examples?

An either-or fallacy occurs when a speaker presents only two options as the only possible choices, ignoring other possibilities. For example, "You're either with us or against us."

Why do people commit logical fallacies?

People commit logical fallacies because they are not aware of them, they want to win an argument regardless of the truth, or they lack critical thinking skills.

How many fallacies are there?

There are over 100 documented fallacies, but the exact number is difficult to determine as new ones are constantly being identified and debated by scholars of logic and rhetoric.

Agnes Walter

Agnes Walter

Writer at Part-time on Work

View Agnes's Profile

Agnes Walter is an experienced writer who has been creating content for various platforms for over a decade. She has a passion for storytelling and enjoys using her words to inspire and educate others. After completing her degree in journalism, Agnes began her career as a reporter for a local newspaper before moving on to freelance writing.

View Agnes's Profile