Valid & Fallacious Reasoning

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Information about Valid & Fallacious Reasoning

Published on March 11, 2014

Author: msbeaulieu



Covers what valid and fallacious reasoning is, and the common types of fallacious reasoning.

Author’s Reasoning: Valid and Fallacious English I Beaulieu Hall Dale High School Monday, March 5, 14

Valid Reasoning Claims must be backed with reasoning. Reasoning should be based in logic. Valid reasoning uses facts, statistics, or personal experience to support their claim. Monday, March 5, 14

Example Becky tells her teacher that she is allergic to pollen, every time she is outside for recess her allergies act up, and therefore the playground must have a high pollen count. This is valid because we see a logical sequence based on true statements. Monday, March 5, 14

Fallacious Reasoning Fallacy is an argument that does not provide the necessary support to back up the given claims. Fallacy is an error in reasoning. Monday, March 5, 14

Most Common Types of Fallacious Reasoning Slippery Slope Hasty Generalization Post hoc ergo propter hoc Genetic Fallacy Circular Argument Either/Or Ad hominem Ad populum Red Herring Monday, March 5, 14

Slippery Slope If A happens, then B, C, ......, X, Y, Z, will happen too. If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment, eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers. Monday, March 5, 14

Hasty Generalization A rushed conclusion before you have all the relevant facts. Even though it’s only the first day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course. Monday, March 5, 14

Post hoc ergo propter hoc If A occurred after B, then B must have caused A. I drank bottled water and now I am sick, so the water must have made me sick. Monday, March 5, 14

Genetic Fallacy Conclusion based on an argument that the origins of a person, idea, institute, or theory determine its character, nature, or worth. The Volkswagen Beetle is an evil car because it was originally designed by Hitler’s army. Monday, March 5, 14

Circular Argument Restates the argument rather than actually proving it. George Bush is a good communicator because he speaks effectively. Monday, March 5, 14

Either/Or Conclusion oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only 2 sides or choices. We can either stop using cars or destroy the earth. Monday, March 5, 14

Ad hominem Attack on the character of a person rather than their opinions or arguments. Green Peace’s strategies aren’t effective because they are all dirty, lazy hippies. Monday, March 5, 14

Ad populum An emotional appeal that speaks to positive (patriotism/ religion/democracy) or negative (terrorism/facism) concepts rather than the real issue. If you were a true American, you would support the rights of people to choose whatever vehicle they want. Monday, March 5, 14

Red Herring A diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues, often by avoiding opposing arguments rather than addressing them. The level of mercury in seafood may be unsafe, but what will fishermen do to support their families. Monday, March 5, 14

Sources invalid Author’s Reasoning Resource Handout Monday, March 5, 14

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