Logical Fallacies


Logical fallacies, the errors in reasoning that undermine the logic of an argument, can mislead and confuse. They are typically the result of faulty reasoning, misuse of evidence, or inappropriate emotional appeals. Fallacies range from black-and-white thinking (false dilemma) to misleading statistics and irrelevant appeals to authority. Identifying logical fallacies is crucial to not only solidifying your own arguments but also critically evaluating the arguments of others. Being able to spot these fallacies enhances your ability to make rational decisions, strengthens your critical thinking skills, and protects you from manipulative tactics. It fosters a more accurate understanding of the world and promotes intellectual integrity in discourse and decision-making.

Read a brief article about logical fallacies at the bottom of this page.

There are over 300 logical fallacies, some of them may not align with your values, beliefs, morals, or ethics. They are meant to be for educational purposes only. The fallacies included in this list are more likely to coincide or cooccur with mental health disorders. It includes some of the most common fallacious arguments. If you would like to add this educational reading component to your daily self care regimen, I encourage you to read and journal about at least one logical fallacy per day. Please visit the source websites to learn about many more not listed here.


Please scroll down for a brief summary of each of the logical fallacies listed in the links.



















Logical Fallacies ~ Summaries


Accident Fallacy

The logical fallacy known as the “accident fallacy,” also referred to as the “fallacy of the exceptional case” or the “fallacy of sweeping generalization,” occurs when a general rule or principle is applied without considering its exceptions or special circumstances. It involves making an unwarranted generalization by assuming that a general rule applies in all cases, even when there are clearly exceptional situations where the rule does not hold true.

The fallacy gets its name from the Latin phrase “secundum quid et simpliciter,” which means “according to what is said and without qualification.” It emphasizes the distinction between a general rule (according to what is said) and its exceptions or qualifications (without qualification).

Here’s an example to illustrate the accident fallacy:

1. All medications are harmful because they have side effects.
2. Therefore, this painkiller is harmful.

In this case, the fallacy occurs because the generalization that “all medications are harmful” is applied without considering that there are exceptions, such as medications that are specifically designed to have minimal side effects. By failing to acknowledge the exceptions, the argument erroneously concludes that the painkiller in question is harmful based solely on the generalization.

To avoid committing the accident fallacy, it is crucial to recognize that general rules or principles may have exceptions or special cases. While generalizations can be helpful in many instances, it is essential to consider individual circumstances and exceptions before making broad claims or judgments.

Identifying and understanding logical fallacies like the accident fallacy can enhance critical thinking skills and help ensure that arguments are based on sound reasoning and valid evidence.


Ad Hominem

Ad hominem is a Latin term that translates to “to the person.” It refers to a logical fallacy in which someone attacks the character or personal attributes of an individual making an argument rather than addressing the merits of the argument itself. Instead of engaging with the substance of the argument, an ad hominem attack aims to discredit the person presenting the argument.

An ad hominem fallacy occurs when someone tries to undermine an argument by attacking the person’s character, credibility, or personal traits rather than providing counterarguments or evidence. This fallacious reasoning is considered invalid because it does not address the actual argument being made.

Here’s an example to illustrate the concept:

Person A: “I believe we should invest more in renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.”
Person B: “You’re just saying that because you work for a company that manufactures solar panels. Your opinion is biased, and therefore, your argument is invalid.”

In this example, Person B ignores the merits of Person A’s argument and instead attacks their personal connection to a solar panel company. Even if Person A’s argument may be influenced by their occupation, it does not automatically invalidate the argument itself. The focus should be on evaluating the evidence and reasoning presented rather than attacking the person making the argument.


 Alleged Certainty

“Alleged certainty” refers to a situation where something is claimed or presented as being certain or definite, but there may be doubts or questions about its accuracy or validity. It implies that there is a perception or assertion of certainty, but it is not universally accepted or proven beyond doubt.

The term “alleged” suggests that there is a discrepancy between what is claimed and what can be substantiated or verified. It implies a need for further investigation, evidence, or clarification to establish the actual level of certainty.

In legal contexts, for example, “alleged certainty” may be used when referring to a claim or accusation that has been made, but the evidence supporting it has not been fully examined or confirmed. It acknowledges the possibility that the claim may be challenged or disproven in the future.

Overall, “alleged certainty” highlights the existence of doubt or skepticism regarding something that is presented as certain, requiring a cautious approach and further scrutiny to determine its true validity.


 Amazing Familiarity

The argument contains information that seems impossible to have obtained—like it came from an omniscient author. This kind of writing/storytelling is characteristic of fiction, so when it is used in an argument it should cast doubt. I can provide a general discussion on the argument from omniscience as a fallacy. Please note that the term “amazing familiarity argument” is not commonly recognized in philosophical discourse or logical fallacy categorizations. However, I can provide information on the general concept of the argument from omniscience as fallacious reasoning.

The argument from omniscience, as a fallacy, typically takes the following form: Person A claims that an omniscient being (usually God) exists. Person B asks a question about the nature or existence of that being. Person A responds by saying that the omniscient being is beyond human understanding or that their ways are mysterious and cannot be comprehended. Person A concludes that the omniscient being exists based on its purported unknowable nature.

This line of reasoning is considered fallacious because it relies on an appeal to ignorance or an argument from incredulity. It asserts that because something cannot be understood or comprehended, it must therefore exist or be true. This is an illogical leap that does not provide any evidence or valid reasoning to support the claim. Additionally, this argument often introduces the concept of an omniscient being, claiming that it knows everything, including things beyond human comprehension. However, the existence of such a being itself is a contentious topic that requires rigorous philosophical, theological, and epistemological examination.

It’s important to note that fallacies like the argument from omniscience do not provide sound or valid reasoning to support a particular claim. They should be identified and addressed in logical discourse to promote more rational and informed discussions.


Ambiguity Fallacy

When an unclear phrase with multiple definitions is used within the argument; therefore, does not support the conclusion.  Some will say single words count for the ambiguity fallacy, which is really a specific form of a fallacy known as equivocation. The term “ambiguity fallacy” does not refer to a specific fallacy in traditional logical fallacy lists. However, it may be used to describe a situation where someone relies on ambiguity or vagueness to make a fallacious argument or to avoid addressing a specific point. It is more of a concept rather than a recognized fallacy.

In general, fallacies are errors in reasoning that can lead to invalid or misleading arguments. These fallacies can occur due to flawed logic, emotional manipulation, or deceptive tactics. Some well-known fallacies include ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and appeal to authority. While ambiguity or vagueness in language can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or confusion, it does not necessarily constitute a fallacy on its own. However, if someone intentionally exploits ambiguity to mislead others or deflect from the main argument, it can be seen as a form of fallacious reasoning. It’s worth noting that the field of logic and fallacies is not exhaustive, and new terms or concepts may emerge over time. Therefore, it is possible that the term “ambiguity fallacy” could gain more recognition in the future if it becomes widely accepted in the study of fallacies.


Anecdotal Evidence Fallacy

The anecdotal evidence fallacy or anecdotal reasoning, is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone relies on personal anecdotes or isolated examples to make a general conclusion or form a strong argument. It involves using individual experiences or anecdotes as evidence to support a broader claim, often neglecting or dismissing more reliable and comprehensive data.

The fallacy arises from the inherent limitations of anecdotal evidence. While personal experiences can be compelling and emotionally persuasive, they are typically based on a limited sample size and are subject to bias, selective memory, and individual interpretation. Anecdotes may not accurately represent the overall reality or provide a representative sample of the population under consideration.

Here’s an example to illustrate the anecdotal fallacy:

Person A: “I know several people who smoked their whole lives and never got cancer. Therefore, smoking doesn’t really increase the risk of cancer.”

In this example, Person A is using personal anecdotes of individuals they know to argue against the widely accepted scientific consensus that smoking is a major risk factor for cancer. However, this argument is flawed because it ignores the vast amount of scientific evidence showing a clear link between smoking and increased cancer risk.

To avoid the anecdotal fallacy, it’s important to consider a broader range of evidence, such as scientific studies, statistical data, expert opinions, and reliable sources. By relying on more comprehensive and representative information, we can make more accurate and informed conclusions.


Anonymous Authority

When an unspecified source is used as evidence for the claim.  This is commonly indicated by phrases such as “They say that…”, “It has been said…”, “I heard that…”, “Studies show…”, or generalized groups such as, “scientists say…”  When we fail to specify a source of the authority, we can’t verify the source, thus the credibility of the argument.  Appeals to anonymous sources are more often than not, a way to fabricate, exaggerate, or misrepresent facts in order to deceive others into accepting your claim.  At times, this deception is done subconsciously — it might not always be deliberate.

An “appeal to authority” fallacy occurs when someone argues that a claim must be true because an authority figure or expert supports it, without providing sufficient evidence or logical reasoning. This fallacy disregards the need for critical evaluation and can be misleading if the authority figure is not actually an expert in the relevant field or if their opinion is based on personal bias or limited evidence.

The concept of an “anonymous authority” would suggest an authority figure whose identity is not disclosed. However, the lack of transparency regarding the authority figure’s identity could undermine their credibility, as it becomes challenging to evaluate their expertise, qualifications, or potential biases.

While the term “anonymous authority fallacy” may not be widely recognized, it is essential to critically evaluate arguments and claims regardless of the source. Relying solely on anonymous or unidentified authorities without considering their expertise, evidence, or potential biases can lead to logical errors and flawed reasoning.



Anthropomorphism refers to the attribution of human characteristics, behaviors, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities, such as animals, objects, or natural phenomena. It is a common human tendency to anthropomorphize, as we often try to understand and relate to the world around us using our own human experiences as a frame of reference. This becomes a logical fallacy when you try to use it in an argument.

Anthropomorphism can be seen in various aspects of human life, including literature, art, religion, and everyday language. For example, in children’s stories, animals are often portrayed with human-like qualities and abilities, such as talking and reasoning. In religious contexts, gods or deities are often depicted with human form and attributes.

While anthropomorphism can be a creative and imaginative tool, it is important to recognize its limitations. It is a form of figurative language and should not be taken literally. Animals, objects, and natural phenomena do not possess human consciousness, thoughts, or intentions. Anthropomorphizing them can lead to misunderstandings and inaccurate assumptions about their behavior and needs.

In scientific contexts, anthropomorphism should be avoided to ensure objectivity and accurate understanding of the natural world. However, in certain situations, anthropomorphism can be used as a metaphorical or heuristic device to help explain complex concepts or facilitate communication. Ultimately, it is important to be mindful of the distinction between human and non-human entities and to use anthropomorphism appropriately in different contexts.


Appeal to Accomplishment

The appeal to accomplishment is a rhetorical strategy that seeks to persuade an audience by highlighting the achievements or successes of an individual or group. By emphasizing their accomplishments, this appeal aims to establish credibility, authority, and competence in a particular field or endeavor. It suggests that because someone has achieved notable feats or reached a high level of expertise, their opinions, recommendations, or actions should be respected and trusted.

The appeal to accomplishment is effective because it taps into human admiration for accomplishment and excellence. When someone has a track record of success or has demonstrated exceptional abilities, their achievements can serve as persuasive evidence to support their claims or positions. This appeal can be found in various contexts, including politics, business, sports, academia, and personal relationships.

It is important to note, however, that the appeal to accomplishment should be used with caution. While past achievements can indicate competence and knowledge, they do not guarantee correctness or superiority in all areas. It is always necessary to critically evaluate the specific claims or arguments being made, rather than relying solely on someone’s past accomplishments


Appeal to Anger

When the emotions of anger, hatred, or rage are substituted for evidence in an argument. I understand that many people may be feeling frustrated or angry about certain issues, but it’s important to approach discussions and conversations with a calm and rational mindset. Appeals to anger typically involve manipulating emotions to provoke a strong emotional response rather than relying on logical reasoning or evidence. While strong emotions can sometimes be justified, it’s generally more productive to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue.

By expressing your thoughts and concerns calmly and providing well-reasoned arguments, you’re more likely to be heard and understood by others. Remember, open and respectful communication often leads to better outcomes and a greater chance for finding common ground.

Reflections: If you are being calm and rational about serious and deadly issues like race, climate, sex, gender, and disability, and you are not being heard, you have other options, rather than acting out on anger, vindictiveness, revenge, resentment, rage, or violence. This highlights the possible fallacy of “When they go low, we go high” a quote by Michelle Obama.

A final thought: If your ideology threatens the existence and safety of other groups, we all have to honor your right to believe that ideology, but we don’t have to abide by it because you believe it.


Appeal to Authority

See Anonymous Authority.


Appeal to Celebrity

Accepting a claim of a celebrity based on his or her celebrity status, not on the strength of the argument.

Example: “Just like your favorite celebrity, you too can achieve success and make a difference. By following their footsteps and using the same products they endorse, you can elevate your lifestyle and become the best version of yourself. Join the ranks of those who have been inspired by these influential figures and unlock your true potential.”

It’s worth noting that appeals to celebrity are a persuasive technique often used in advertising and marketing to associate a product or idea with a well-known person or influencer. While such appeals can be effective in capturing attention and generating interest, it’s important to critically evaluate the actual value or relevance of the product or idea being promoted.


Appeal to Closure

Accepting evidence on the basis of wanting closure—or to be done with the issue. While the desire for closure is a real psychological phenomenon that does have an effect on the well-being of individuals, using “closure” as a reason for accepting evidence that would otherwise not be accepted, is fallacious. 

The “appeal to closure fallacy” is not a recognized logical fallacy in traditional logic. It appears that you might be referring to a fallacy related to the human desire for closure or certainty, but it is not a widely known fallacy by that name.

However, there are several related fallacies that touch upon similar concepts:

1. Argument from Ignorance: This fallacy occurs when someone argues that a proposition is true or false simply because it hasn’t been proven otherwise. In other words, it assumes that a lack of evidence against a claim makes it true, or a lack of evidence for a claim makes it false.

2. False Dilemma: This fallacy arises when someone presents an argument as if there are only two options available, when in fact there are more possibilities. It limits the choices to create a false sense of closure or certainty.

3. Argument from Personal Incredulity: This fallacy occurs when someone argues that a claim is false or invalid because they personally cannot comprehend or understand how it could be true. It relies on personal discomfort with ambiguity or lack of closure.

While these fallacies are related to the concept of closure or certainty, it’s important to recognize that uncertainty and open-ended questions are often inherent in complex issues. It’s crucial to engage in critical thinking, consider multiple perspectives, and evaluate evidence and reasoning rather than relying on a desire for closure as the basis for accepting or rejecting an argument.


Appeal to Coincidence

Concluding that a result is due to chance when the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. The appeal to luck variation uses luck in place of coincidence or chance.


Appeal to Common Belief

When the claim that most or many people in general or of a particular group accept a belief as true is presented as evidence for the claim. Accepting another person’s belief, or many people’s beliefs, without demanding evidence as to why that person accepts the belief, is lazy thinking and a dangerous way to accept information.


Appeal to Common Folk

In place of evidence, attempting to establish a connection to the audience based on being a “regular person” just like each of them. Then suggesting that your proposition is something that all common folk believe or should accept.


Appeal to Common Sense

Asserting that your conclusion or facts are just “common sense” when, in fact, they are not. We must argue as to why we believe something is common sense if there is any doubt that the belief is not common, rather than just asserting that it is. This is a more specific version of alleged certainty.


Appeal to Complexity

Concluding that because you don’t understand something, it must not be true, it’s improbable, or the argument must be flawed. This is a specific form of the argument from ignorance.


Appeal to Consequences

Concluding that an idea or proposition is true or false because the consequences of it being true or false are desirable or undesirable. The fallacy lies in the fact that the desirability is not related to the truth value of the idea or proposition. This comes in two forms: the positive and negative.


Appeal to Definition

Using a dictionary’s limited definition of a term as evidence that term cannot have another meaning, expanded meaning, or even conflicting meaning. This is a fallacy because dictionaries don’t reason; they simply are a reflection of an abbreviated version of the current accepted usage of a term, as determined by argumentation and eventual acceptance. In short, dictionaries tell you what a word meant, according to the authors, at the time of its writing, not what it meant before that time, after, or what it should mean. Dictionary meanings are usually concise, and lack the depth found in an encyclopedia; therefore, terms found in dictionaries are often incomplete when it comes to helping people to gain a full understanding of the term.


Appeal to Emotion

This is the general category of many fallacies that use emotion in place of reason in order to attempt to win the argument. It is a type of manipulation used in place of valid logic. There are several specifically emotional fallacies that I list separately in this book, because of their widespread use. However, keep in mind that you can take any emotion, precede it with, “appeal to,” and you have created a new fallacy, but by definition, the emotion must be used in place of a valid reason for supporting the conclusion.


Appeal to Equality

An assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretense of equality, where what exactly is “equal” is not made clear, and not supported by the argument.


Appeal to Extremes

Erroneously attempting to make a reasonable argument into an absurd one, by taking the argument to the extremes. Note that this is not a valid reductio ad absurdum.


Appeal to Faith

This is an abandonment of reason in an argument and a call to faith, usually when reason clearly leads to disproving the conclusion of an argument. It is the assertion that one must have (the right kind of) faith in order to understand the argument. Even arguments that heavily rely on reason that ultimately require faith, abandon reason.


Appeal to False Authority

Using an alleged authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument. As the audience, allowing an irrelevant authority to add credibility to the claim being made. Also see the appeal to authority.


Appeal to Flattery

When an attempt is made to win support for an argument, not by the strength of the argument, but by using flattery on those whom you want to accept your argument. This fallacy is often the cause of people getting tricked into doing something they don’t really want to do.


Argument by Emotive Language

Substituting facts and evidence with words that stir up emotion, with the attempt to manipulate others into accepting the truth of the argument.


Argument from Ignorance

The assumption of a conclusion or fact based primarily on lack of evidence to the contrary. Usually best described by, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”


Begging the Question 

Any form of argument where the conclusion is assumed in one of the premises. Many people use the phrase “begging the question” incorrectly when they use it to mean, “prompts one to ask the question.” That is NOT the correct usage. Begging the question is a form of circular reasoning.


Black or White 

The concept of the black or white fallacy, also known as the false dichotomy or false dilemma, refers to a logical fallacy that presents a situation as having only two possible options or extremes, while ignoring or dismissing the existence of other alternatives or possibilities. It oversimplifies complex issues by reducing them to a simplistic choice between two opposing positions.

In this fallacy, the options are typically portrayed as mutually exclusive, with one option being portrayed as entirely good or correct (the “white” option) and the other as entirely bad or incorrect (the “black” option). It fails to consider the existence of a middle ground or other shades of gray, disregarding the potential for a more nuanced understanding of the issue at hand.

The black or white fallacy is often used as a rhetorical device to manipulate or sway opinions by presenting a situation as an either-or choice, forcing people to take sides and discouraging critical thinking. By framing the argument in such a binary manner, it can create a false sense of urgency and artificially limit the available options.

However, in reality, many situations are more complex and multifaceted than the black or white fallacy suggests. There are often multiple perspectives, alternative solutions, and varying degrees of validity or effectiveness among different options. By oversimplifying the choices, this fallacy hinders meaningful discussion and prevents exploration of more nuanced and inclusive solutions.

It is important to recognize and avoid falling into the trap of the black or white fallacy when analyzing and discussing complex issues. Engaging in critical thinking, considering alternative viewpoints, and exploring a broader range of possibilities can lead to more comprehensive and informed decision-making. By embracing complexity and recognizing the existence of middle ground, we can arrive at more balanced and well-rounded perspectives.


Burden of Proof

The concept of the burden of proof fallacy is rooted in the principles of logic and critical thinking. It refers to a logical error that occurs when someone asserts a claim and then demands that their opponent disprove or provide evidence to the contrary, instead of shouldering the responsibility of providing evidence to support their own claim. In other words, it’s a fallacy that shifts the burden of proof from the person making the claim to the person challenging or questioning it.

The burden of proof is a fundamental principle in reasoning and debate. It states that the person making a claim or assertion has the responsibility of providing evidence or good reasons to support their claim. The burden lies on the person making the positive claim, not on the person who doubts or questions it. This principle ensures fairness in discussions and prevents baseless or unsubstantiated claims from being accepted as true.

The burden of proof fallacy, however, occurs when the person making a claim attempts to evade their responsibility by demanding that others disprove their claim instead. It can manifest in various forms and is often used as a rhetorical tactic to shift the focus away from the lack of evidence for a claim.

To understand why this is fallacious, let’s consider an example:

Person A: “Aliens exist and have visited Earth. Prove me wrong!”
Person B: “The burden of proof lies on you to provide evidence for your claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

In this example, Person A asserts the existence of aliens and then shifts the burden of proof to Person B by demanding them to disprove the claim. Person A fails to provide any evidence to support their assertion, thus committing the burden of proof fallacy.

It’s important to note that the burden of proof fallacy does not mean that a claim is necessarily false or true based on who asserts it or who questions it. The fallacy is solely concerned with the responsibility of providing evidence. Without evidence, a claim remains unsubstantiated and cannot be accepted as true.

In rational discourse, the burden of proof should rest on the person making the positive claim. If someone asserts something, they should provide relevant evidence, logical reasoning, or supporting arguments to back up their claim. Failing to do so weakens their position and undermines the credibility of their argument.

Recognizing the burden of proof fallacy is essential for critical thinking and evaluating arguments objectively. By understanding this fallacy, individuals can identify when the burden of proof is being misused and promote a more reasoned and evidence-based approach to discussions and debates.



The fallacy of composition and division are two related logical fallacies that involve making unwarranted assumptions about the parts and the whole of a group or system.

The fallacy of composition occurs when someone assumes that what is true for the parts of something must also be true for the whole. In other words, it assumes that the properties or characteristics of individual elements of a group apply to the group as a whole. This assumption may not necessarily hold true because the behavior or properties of a whole can differ from those of its individual parts.

For example:

Person A: “Each brick in that building weighs less than a pound. Therefore, the entire building weighs less than a pound.”

In this example, Person A mistakenly assumes that because the weight of each brick is less than a pound, the total weight of the building will also be less than a pound. However, this assumption neglects other factors such as the number of bricks and their arrangement, which collectively contribute to the weight of the entire building.

The fallacy of division, on the other hand, is the opposite of the fallacy of composition. It occurs when someone assumes that what is true for the whole must also be true for its individual parts. This assumption overlooks the fact that the properties or characteristics of a whole do not necessarily apply to its constituent parts.

For example:

Person B: “The team won the championship, so each player on the team must be the best player in the league.”

In this example, Person B mistakenly assumes that because the team as a whole won the championship, each player on the team must individually be the best player in the league. However, this assumption ignores the possibility that some players may have contributed less significantly to the team’s success or that other teams may have standout players who were not part of the winning team.

Both the fallacy of composition and the fallacy of division arise from making generalizations or assumptions about the relationship between the parts and the whole without considering other relevant factors or evidence. It is important to recognize these fallacies to avoid making faulty conclusions or drawing unwarranted inferences about groups or systems.



Using an ambiguous term in more than one sense, thus making an argument misleading.


Failure to Elucidate

When the definition is made more difficult to understand than the word or concept being defined.


False Cause

The fallacy of false cause, also known as the fallacy of correlation or post hoc fallacy, is a logical fallacy that occurs when one assumes a causal relationship between two events or variables based on mere correlation or temporal sequence. In other words, it wrongly concludes that because one event follows another, the first event must have caused the second event.

It is important to note that correlation or temporal sequence alone does not prove causation. There could be other factors or variables at play that explain the relationship between the events, or the correlation may be coincidental.

Here’s an example to illustrate the fallacy of false cause:

Person A: “I wore my lucky socks yesterday, and my team won the game. Therefore, wearing my lucky socks caused my team’s victory.”

In this example, Person A assumes that wearing the lucky socks caused the team’s victory solely based on the temporal sequence of events. However, this is a fallacy because there is no direct evidence or logical connection between the socks and the outcome of the game. Other factors, such as the skill of the players, game strategy, or teamwork, could have influenced the team’s success.

Another common form of the fallacy of false cause is mistaking correlation for causation. Just because two variables are correlated does not mean that one variable caused the other. There may be a third factor at play or a coincidence that creates the appearance of a causal relationship.

For example:

Person B: “Countries with high ice cream consumption also have higher rates of drowning. Therefore, eating ice cream causes drowning.”

In this example, Person B mistakenly concludes that ice cream consumption causes drowning based on the correlation between the two variables. However, the correlation is likely coincidental, and a third factor, such as warm weather, could explain both the high ice cream consumption and increased swimming activities, leading to higher drowning rates.

To avoid the fallacy of false cause, it is important to consider other possible explanations, gather sufficient evidence, and critically evaluate the relationship between events or variables. Causation requires more than just correlation or temporal sequence; it necessitates a demonstrated mechanism or evidence establishing a direct causal link between the events in question.


False Dilemma

The fallacy of false dilemma, also known as the false dichotomy, is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone presents a situation as having only two options or possibilities, when in fact, there are other alternatives or shades of gray to consider. It oversimplifies complex issues by reducing them to an “either/or” choice, ignoring the potential for additional options.

The false dilemma fallacy typically takes the following form:

Option A is presented.
Option B is presented.
Therefore, the only options are A or B.

This fallacy is problematic because it limits the range of possibilities and ignores potential middle ground or alternative solutions that may exist. It restricts the debate or discussion to a narrow set of choices, which can lead to biased thinking and prevent a more comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand.

Here’s an example to illustrate the false dilemma fallacy:

Person A: “Either we ban all cars from the city center or we continue to have air pollution problems. We must choose one or the other.”

Person B: “But what if we promote the use of electric vehicles and improve public transportation options? That way, we can reduce pollution without banning all cars.”

Person A’s argument presents a false dilemma by asserting that the only two options are a complete ban on cars or accepting ongoing air pollution. Person B points out that there are alternative solutions that were not considered in the initial argument.

It’s important to be aware of the false dilemma fallacy to ensure that we consider all possible options and avoid oversimplifying complex issues. By recognizing that there can be more than two choices or that alternatives may exist, we can engage in more nuanced and productive discussions.



The genetic fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone attempts to discredit or invalidate an idea, argument, or belief based on its origin or history rather than its merits. It involves rejecting or accepting a claim solely because of its source or how it came about, rather than evaluating the evidence, logic, or reasoning behind it.

The name “genetic fallacy” can be misleading, as it has nothing to do with genetics in the biological sense. Instead, it refers to the Latin root “genitus,” meaning “born” or “created.” The fallacy focuses on the origin or genesis of an idea rather than its inherent qualities.

For example, suppose someone argues that a particular scientific theory is false because it originated from a discredited researcher. This would be an example of the genetic fallacy because the argument is attacking the theory based on the reputation or background of the person who proposed it, rather than engaging with the actual evidence or logic supporting the theory.

It is important to evaluate ideas and arguments based on their own merits rather than dismissing or accepting them solely because of their origin. By engaging with the evidence, reasoning, and logic behind a claim, we can make more informed judgments and avoid falling into the genetic fallacy.


Hasty Generalization

Hasty generalization is a logical fallacy where a conclusion is drawn based on insufficient or biased evidence. It occurs when someone reaches a broad generalization about a whole group or category based on a limited or atypical sample. This fallacy often involves making a hasty judgment or forming a conclusion without considering all the relevant information or conducting a proper analysis.

For example, suppose someone visits a foreign country for the first time and encounters a rude person. Based on this single interaction, they may hastily conclude that all people from that country are impolite. This conclusion is a hasty generalization because it is based on a single experience and does not take into account the diversity within the population. Hasty generalizations can also occur when statistics or data are misinterpreted or selectively presented. For instance, if a study finds that a particular medication caused side effects in a small sample of patients, it would be a hasty generalization to conclude that the medication is unsafe for everyone.

To avoid hasty generalizations, it is important to gather sufficient evidence, consider different perspectives, and analyze data in a comprehensive and unbiased manner. Making broad conclusions based on limited or biased information can lead to incorrect judgments and unfair stereotypes.


Magical Thinking

Magical thinking refers to the belief that there is a causal relationship between actions, thoughts, or objects that are not logically or scientifically connected. It involves attributing supernatural or mystical powers to certain actions or objects, often based on superstition, intuition, or personal beliefs rather than evidence or rationality.

Magical thinking can manifest in various ways and is often associated with certain cultural or religious practices. Examples of magical thinking include:

1. Superstitions: Believing that certain actions or objects have the power to bring good luck or prevent bad luck, such as avoiding walking under a ladder or carrying a lucky charm.

2. Rituals: Performing specific rituals or ceremonies to influence outcomes or events, such as wearing a particular item of clothing for an important exam or following a specific routine before a sports competition.

3. Wish fulfillment: Believing that simply wishing for something or thinking about it strongly will make it come true, without taking any practical steps or actions to achieve it.

4. Sympathetic magic: Believing that an object or person can be magically connected to another and that what happens to one will affect the other. For example, using voodoo dolls to cause harm or healing rituals to alleviate pain.

5. Paranormal beliefs: Holding beliefs in supernatural phenomena, such as ghosts, psychics, or astrology, without scientific evidence or logical reasoning.

It’s important to note that magical thinking is not supported by scientific principles and is often considered a cognitive bias or a form of irrational thought. While it can provide comfort or a sense of control for some individuals, it is generally not considered a reliable or effective way of understanding or influencing the world around us.


Moving the Goalposts

The phrase “moving the goal posts” is a metaphor used to describe a situation where someone changes the criteria or standards of a discussion, argument, or competition in order to gain an advantage or avoid being proven wrong. It implies that the person is unfairly altering the conditions of the situation to suit their own needs or to make it harder for their opponent to succeed.

In a debate or argument, moving the goal posts can occur when one party sets a specific condition or requirement for their opponent to meet, and once that condition is met, they change the conditions or introduce new criteria, making it difficult for the other person to achieve success or prove their point. The phrase is often used in sports, where it refers to changing the rules or expectations of a game during its progress. For example, if a team is winning by a large margin, and the opposing team suggests that the game should be played for a longer duration or with different rules, it can be seen as an attempt to move the goal posts to give themselves a chance to catch up or change the outcome.

Overall, “moving the goal posts” describes an unfair tactic where someone changes the rules or expectations in a discussion or competition to their advantage, often frustrating the other party involved.


Personal Incredulity

Personal incredulity is a logical fallacy where someone rejects a claim or an argument simply because they find it difficult to believe or understand. It is a form of faulty reasoning because one’s personal inability to comprehend or accept something does not necessarily mean that it is false or incorrect. The personal incredulity fallacy often occurs when someone lacks knowledge or understanding of a particular subject and therefore concludes that the claim being made must be untrue or implausible. Instead of engaging with the evidence or seeking further information, they dismiss the claim based on their own limited understanding.

It’s important to recognize that personal incredulity is not a valid basis for rejecting an argument or a claim. Just because something seems difficult to comprehend or goes against one’s personal beliefs or experiences does not make it false. It is necessary to evaluate claims based on evidence, logical reasoning, and a willingness to consider alternative perspectives. To avoid falling into the trap of personal incredulity, it is helpful to remain open-minded, seek additional information, and engage in critical thinking to evaluate claims based on their merits rather than personal biases or preconceived notions.


Poisoning the Well

“Poisoning the well” is a rhetorical tactic or logical fallacy where someone attempts to discredit an argument or an individual by presenting unfavorable information or making negative claims about them in advance. The goal is to create a biased perception of the person or argument before they have a chance to present their case, thereby undermining their credibility and making their position less persuasive. The term “poisoning the well” is often used in discussions or debates when one party tries to preemptively tarnish the reputation or credibility of their opponent. By doing so, they hope to diminish the impact of their opponent’s argument before it is even presented, making it easier to dismiss or ignore.

This fallacy is considered unfair and unethical because it focuses on personal attacks and emotional manipulation rather than addressing the merits of the argument itself. It diverts attention from the actual content of the argument and relies on prejudgment and bias. It’s important to recognize when this fallacy is being employed and to respond by focusing on the substance of the argument and avoiding personal attacks or character assassination. Evaluating arguments based on their logic, evidence, and reasoning is key to having productive and fair discussions.


Prejudicial Language

Prejudicial language itself is not considered a logical fallacy, but it can be associated with fallacious reasoning or erroneous logic when used inappropriately. Prejudicial language refers to the use of emotionally charged or biased words and phrases that are intended to evoke a specific response or sway opinion, rather than relying on objective evidence or logical reasoning.

While using prejudicial language doesn’t directly violate the rules of logic, it can lead to fallacious reasoning in a few ways:

1. Ad Hominem Fallacy: Prejudicial language often involves attacking a person’s character or identity rather than addressing their argument directly. This is known as an ad hominem fallacy, where the focus shifts from the argument itself to attacking the person making the argument.

2. Loaded Language: Prejudicial language often employs loaded or emotionally charged words that can manipulate the listener’s emotions and cloud their judgment. This can create a fallacious appeal to emotion, where the strength of the argument is based on the emotional response it elicits rather than its logical merits.

3. Stereotyping and Generalizations: Prejudicial language can involve making sweeping generalizations or relying on stereotypes about certain groups of people. This can lead to fallacious reasoning such as hasty generalizations or stereotyping fallacies, where an individual or argument is unfairly characterized based on these generalizations.

It’s important to distinguish between the use of prejudicial language and logical fallacies themselves. While prejudicial language can be a red flag for potential fallacious reasoning, it is the specific reasoning or argumentation behind the language that should be critically examined to identify any logical fallacies or errors in logic.


Questionable Cause

Questionable cause, also known as a false cause or non causa pro causa, refers to a logical fallacy that occurs when a cause-and-effect relationship is incorrectly assumed between two events or phenomena without sufficient evidence to support the claim. It happens when one event is considered the cause of another event solely based on their correlation, even though there may be no actual causal connection between them. In this fallacy, the assumption of a cause-and-effect relationship is made without considering other possible factors or alternative explanations. Just because two events occur together or in sequence does not necessarily mean that one caused the other.

For example, let’s say a person claims that eating ice cream causes sunburns because they noticed that whenever they eat ice cream, they also get sunburned. This claim neglects the fact that sunburns are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, and the correlation between eating ice cream and getting sunburned is likely coincidental. The true cause of sunburns is the exposure to UV rays, not the consumption of ice cream. Questionable cause fallacies can be misleading and can lead to inaccurate conclusions or beliefs. It is important to consider other possible causes, gather sufficient evidence, and critically evaluate the relationship between events before drawing conclusions about causality.


Red Herring

The red herring is a logical fallacy that involves diverting attention from the main topic or argument by introducing irrelevant information or tangents. It is a tactic commonly used in debates or discussions to mislead or distract the audience.

When someone commits the red herring fallacy, they shift the focus away from the original point or issue and introduce a new, unrelated topic that may seem important or interesting but is ultimately irrelevant to the discussion at hand. This diversionary tactic is used to manipulate the audience’s perception or to avoid addressing the original argument.

Here’s an example to illustrate the red herring fallacy:

Person A: “We should prioritize funding for education to improve the quality of our schools.”
Person B: “I agree, but what about the increasing crime rate in our city? We need more police officers on the streets.”

In this example, Person B introduces the topic of crime rates, which is unrelated to the discussion about education funding. While the crime rate is an important issue, it doesn’t address the original point or provide a relevant counterargument. Person B is using a red herring to divert attention away from the topic of education funding.

By recognizing the red herring fallacy, one can stay focused on the main point of the argument and avoid being misled by irrelevant information or distractions.


Reductio ad Hitlerum

“Reductio ad Hitlerum” is a term used to describe a logical fallacy in which someone compares an opponent’s argument or position to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis in an attempt to discredit them, rather than engaging with the substance of their argument. The term is a play on “reductio ad absurdum,” a logical technique where an argument is reduced to its absurd or illogical conclusion to demonstrate its flaws.

The use of reductio ad Hitlerum is generally considered a fallacy because it avoids addressing the actual arguments being made and instead relies on invoking a strong emotional response by associating the opponent with one of history’s most reviled figures. It is often seen as a form of ad hominem attack, where the focus is shifted to attacking the person making the argument rather than critically examining the argument itself.

Engaging in a thoughtful and reasoned discussion involves addressing the actual points being made, analyzing evidence, and providing logical counterarguments. Resorting to reductio ad Hitlerum or any similar fallacious tactics is generally counterproductive to meaningful discourse and can hinder productive conversations. It is important to focus on the substance of the arguments and engage in respectful and rational dialogue.


Slippery Slope

The slippery slope is a type of logical fallacy that occurs when it is argued that a particular action will lead to a chain of events, usually negative or undesirable, without sufficient evidence to support such a claim. The fallacy suggests that if we take one step in a certain direction, it will inevitably lead to a series of increasingly dire consequences, often without considering other factors or possible mitigating factors.

The slippery slope fallacy assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between events without providing substantial evidence to support the claim. It often relies on fear, speculation, or a hypothetical chain of events rather than presenting solid reasoning or evidence.

Here’s an example to illustrate the slippery slope fallacy:

Person A: “If we allow people to own guns for self-defense, it won’t be long before everyone starts using them to settle minor disputes. Eventually, our society will descend into chaos and anarchy.”

In this example, Person A argues that allowing people to own guns for self-defense will lead to an escalation in the use of firearms for trivial matters and ultimately result in societal breakdown. However, this argument doesn’t provide sufficient evidence to establish a direct causal relationship between allowing gun ownership and widespread misuse. It ignores the potential for responsible gun ownership and the presence of other factors that contribute to societal stability.

It’s important to critically evaluate arguments that rely on the slippery slope fallacy and consider alternative possibilities and counterarguments. While it’s true that certain actions can have consequences, it’s essential to examine the specific evidence and reasoning presented to support those claims.


Special Pleading

Special pleading is a logical fallacy in which someone applies a different set of standards or rules to a particular situation, person, or argument without providing adequate justification for the discrepancy. It occurs when someone tries to exempt a particular claim or belief from the standard principles or criteria that would typically apply.

The term “special pleading” suggests that someone is making a special or exceptional case for their argument, often in an attempt to avoid contradictions or inconsistencies. This fallacy is generally seen as an unfair or unreasonable form of argumentation because it violates the principle of treating similar cases or claims equally.

Here’s an example to illustrate special pleading:

Person A: “All forms of killing are morally wrong.”
Person B: “What about self-defense? If someone is trying to harm you, it’s justified to kill them to protect yourself.”

In this example, Person B is engaging in special pleading by making an exception for killing in self-defense. While Person B argues that killing in self-defense is acceptable, they fail to provide a compelling reason why this particular circumstance justifies a departure from the general principle that killing is wrong.

Overall, special pleading is considered a fallacy because it introduces an arbitrary exception without providing a sound and rational justification for the inconsistency. In logical discourse, it is important to apply consistent standards and reasoning to avoid falling into fallacious arguments like special pleading.



The straw man fallacy is a type of logical fallacy that involves misrepresenting or distorting an opponent’s argument in order to make it easier to attack or refute. Instead of addressing the actual argument presented, the fallacy involves creating a “straw man” argument that is similar to the original argument but is easier to criticize.

Here’s an example to illustrate the straw man fallacy:

Person A: “I think we should invest more in education to improve the quality of our schools.”
Person B: “So, you’re saying we should throw an unlimited amount of money at schools without any accountability? That’s absurd!”

In this example, Person B misrepresents Person A’s argument by suggesting that they advocate for unlimited and unaccountable spending on schools, which is not what Person A actually said. By attacking this exaggerated and distorted version of Person A’s argument, Person B avoids addressing the actual proposal for increased investment in education.

The straw man fallacy is considered a fallacy because it fails to engage with the original argument and instead focuses on a weaker or distorted version of it. It can be used as a tactic to undermine an opponent’s position by attacking a misrepresented version of their argument rather than addressing the genuine points they have made.


Style over Substance

The notion of “style over substance” does not necessarily fall under a specific logical fallacy. Instead, it is more of a concept that refers to situations where the superficial or aesthetic aspects of something are given more importance or attention than the underlying substance or content.

However, there are a few logical fallacies that could be related to or used in arguments involving style over substance. Here are a couple of examples:

1. Appeal to Emotion: This fallacy involves manipulating emotions to persuade someone rather than relying on sound reasoning or evidence. In the context of style over substance, someone might use emotional appeals or flashy presentation techniques to distract from or compensate for a lack of substantial evidence or logical reasoning.

2. Red Herring: This fallacy involves diverting attention from the main issue by introducing irrelevant information or arguments. In the context of style over substance, someone might introduce tangential or superficial points to distract from the lack of substance in their main argument.

It’s important to note that the concept of style over substance can sometimes be subjective, as different people may prioritize different aspects when evaluating something. While it is essential to consider both style and substance in most situations, it is generally more reasonable to give precedence to substance over mere style when evaluating the overall quality or value of something.

“Style over substance” refers to a situation where the appearance or presentation of something is prioritized or given more importance than its actual content, value, or substance. It suggests that superficial qualities, such as aesthetics, presentation, or image, are emphasized at the expense of deeper or more meaningful aspects.

This phrase is commonly used to critique various aspects of culture, such as art, design, fashion, marketing, or even individuals and their behavior. It implies that the focus on surface-level attributes or a visually appealing presentation can overshadow the underlying substance, meaning, or quality of something.

For example, in the context of film, “style over substance” may refer to a visually stunning movie that lacks a compelling or coherent storyline or well-developed characters. It suggests that the film relies too heavily on its visual aesthetics to impress the audience, while neglecting to deliver a substantive or engaging narrative.

Similarly, in product design, “style over substance” may criticize a product that prioritizes sleek and trendy appearance but fails to deliver on its intended functionality or usability.

It’s worth noting that while the phrase is often used as a criticism, there are instances where style can be appreciated in its own right, such as in avant-garde art or experimental fashion. However, striking a balance between style and substance is generally seen as desirable, as it ensures that both the surface-level appeal and the underlying content or value are given due attention.


Texas Sharpshooter

The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone cherry-picks specific data or information to support their argument while ignoring or disregarding other relevant data. It gets its name from the analogy of a sharpshooter who fires shots at a barn wall and then draws the target around the cluster of bullet holes to make it appear as if they were aiming at that specific spot all along.

In the context of logical reasoning, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy refers to the act of selecting a pattern or cluster of data points after they have occurred and treating them as if they were the intended result or the significant pattern from the beginning. This fallacy often arises when someone looks at a large set of data, finds a seemingly meaningful pattern, and then uses that pattern as evidence for their argument, without considering the overall context or examining the data in a more objective and comprehensive manner.

The fallacy occurs because the person making the argument has ignored or dismissed any data points that do not fit the desired pattern. By focusing only on the selected data that supports their argument and disregarding the rest, they create the illusion of a meaningful correlation or pattern where none may actually exist.

It’s important to note that the Texas sharpshooter fallacy is a form of confirmation bias, as it involves selecting and interpreting data in a way that confirms one’s preconceived notions or beliefs while ignoring contradictory evidence. To avoid this fallacy, it is crucial to consider the larger context, examine all available data, and ensure that the pattern or correlation identified is not simply a result of selective bias.


Two Wrongs Make a Right

The phrase “two wrongs make a right” refers to a common logical fallacy known as the fallacy of moral equivalence or the fallacy of false equivalence. It suggests that if one person or group commits a wrong or unethical act, it is justified for another person or group to respond with a similar wrong or unethical act. However, this reasoning is flawed because it fails to consider the original wrong act or to propose a morally justifiable solution.

Engaging in unethical behavior or committing a wrong act does not negate the original wrong or make it morally acceptable. In ethical and moral frameworks, the focus should be on finding a just and fair resolution rather than perpetuating a cycle of wrongdoing. It is important to address conflicts or issues through constructive dialogue, understanding, and seeking solutions that promote justice and morality rather than resorting to further wrongdoing.


Weak Analogy

The “weak analogy” occurs when an analogy is drawn between two things that have relevant differences, making the comparison flawed and illogical. The fallacy lies in assuming that because two things share some similarities, they must be similar in other respects as well, which may not be the case.

An analogy is a useful tool for explaining complex concepts or ideas by comparing them to more familiar ones. However, for an analogy to be strong and valid, the two things being compared must be similar in relevant aspects, and any differences between them must not undermine the comparison being made.

Here’s an example to illustrate the weak analogy fallacy:

Statement: “Just as a bird can fly freely in the sky, we should be able to drive our cars at any speed we want on the roads.”

In this analogy, the person is comparing the freedom of a bird flying in the sky to the freedom of driving cars at any speed. While there is a superficial similarity of freedom in both cases, there are significant differences that make the analogy weak. Birds fly in a vast, open sky without traffic rules or potential harm to others, whereas driving cars at any speed without restrictions would endanger lives and violate traffic laws.

Therefore, the weak analogy fallacy occurs when the comparison between two things is flawed due to relevant differences that undermine the validity of the analogy. It is important to critically evaluate analogies to ensure they are logically sound and do not rely on superficial similarities while ignoring important distinctions.


Wishful Thinking

The “wishful thinking” logical fallacy, also known as the “appeal to desire” or “argumentum ad desideratum,” occurs when someone believes or argues for a proposition solely because they wish it to be true, rather than based on evidence or logical reasoning. It is a cognitive bias where personal desires or preferences influence one’s beliefs or conclusions.

Wishful thinking is problematic because it bypasses critical thinking and objective evaluation of the available evidence. It can lead to irrational beliefs and poor decision-making. Just because we want something to be true does not make it so, and relying on wishful thinking can prevent us from accepting reality or seeking alternative explanations.

To avoid the wishful thinking fallacy, it is important to evaluate claims based on objective evidence, logical reasoning, and critical thinking rather than personal desires or preferences. This involves considering alternative viewpoints, seeking reliable sources of information, and being open to changing our beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence.


Logical fallacies: understanding how they affect logic, reasoning, and critical thinking

In the pursuit of effective communication and robust reasoning, understanding logical fallacies is essential. Logical fallacies are flawed patterns of reasoning that can deceive individuals, weaken arguments, and hinder critical thinking. By recognizing and avoiding these fallacies, one can develop stronger logic, reasoning abilities, and critical thinking skills. Moreover, the intersection between logical fallacies and social capital, social skills, emotional regulation, and emotional intelligence further highlights their impact on our daily interactions.

Logical fallacies come in various forms, each presenting a different way in which reasoning can go astray. For instance, the ad hominem fallacy occurs when an argument attacks the person making the argument instead of addressing the merits of the argument itself. This fallacy deflects attention from the substance of the argument and instead focuses on personal attacks, undermining productive discussion.

Understanding logical fallacies allows individuals to identify weaknesses in arguments, enabling them to engage in more robust reasoning. By recognizing fallacious reasoning, individuals can challenge flawed arguments and seek evidence-based conclusions. Consequently, this strengthens their ability to think critically and make sound judgments, which is crucial in both personal and professional settings.

Moreover, mastering logical fallacies has a direct impact on social capital and social skills. Social capital refers to the value of social networks and relationships, which can facilitate collaboration, trust, and cooperation. By avoiding logical fallacies, individuals can communicate more effectively, engage in constructive debates, and build stronger relationships. This enhances their social capital and establishes them as reliable and thoughtful individuals within their communities.

Social skills also play a pivotal role in recognizing and avoiding logical fallacies. Effective communication relies on the ability to express oneself clearly, listen actively, and respond thoughtfully. By understanding logical fallacies, individuals can navigate conversations more skillfully, avoid potential pitfalls, and foster meaningful dialogue. This not only strengthens their social skills but also promotes healthy and respectful interactions.

Furthermore, emotional regulation and emotional intelligence intersect with logical fallacies. Emotional regulation involves the ability to manage and respond to emotions effectively, while emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to recognize, understand, and empathize with others’ emotions. Both skills are crucial in avoiding logical fallacies.

Logical fallacies often arise when emotions cloud judgment or when individuals manipulate emotions to sway opinions. By developing emotional regulation and emotional intelligence, individuals can recognize when emotions are influencing their reasoning or when others are exploiting emotional triggers. This awareness empowers individuals to approach discussions and debates with a more rational and balanced mindset, leading to more logical and coherent arguments.

In conclusion, understanding and mastering logical fallacies have far-reaching implications for logic, reasoning, and critical thinking skills. By recognizing these flawed patterns of reasoning, individuals can strengthen their ability to think critically, engage in more effective communication, and build stronger social connections. Furthermore, the intersection between logical fallacies and social capital, social skills, emotional regulation, and emotional intelligence highlights the vital role they play in navigating interpersonal interactions. By honing these skills, individuals can foster a culture of robust reasoning, thoughtful dialogue, and informed decision-making.