Logical Fallacy Poster – Your Logical Fallacy Is…

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • unbound

    Personally, my favorite is poisoning the well since most people don’t even realize it is happening and even fewer understand it is a special type of ad hominem fallacy.

  • Guy

    I think the post hoc fallacy is the one that’s committed most often in a serious context (ad hominems are obviously the go-to for the man on the street) and underlines why/how most people don’t understand what constitutes satisfactory evidence.

    To wit, my cousin: “I gave my daughter a homeopathic remedy when she was feeling unwell, once. At some point afterwards, she felt better, therefore, homeopathy works.”

    Classic, text-book example of the post hoc fallacy. I tried to explain the logical error once, using rain dances as an analogy (tribe does rain dance, it rains, they think they have effected precipitation via bodily gyration, which is clearly not the case, selective bias, yadda yadda) but to no avail :(

  • Steerpike

    One fallacy that was missing from the poster, and which I feel is particularly relevent in a theological debate could be called “appeal to antiquity”. This might be seen as a subset of appeal to authority, but with the added element of mystical reverence for some sort of idealized wisdom beleived to be possessed by our ancestors. This is why theists are so ready to consult the hodgepodge of miscellaneous folklore, origin myths and bronze age superstition known collectively as the Bible. Somehow, the fact that it was compiled by preliterate, semi-civilized pastoral nomads gives it extra credibility, rather than disqualifying it from any relevance to the modern world.

  • Steerpike

    In a way, the poster itself is a form of argumentum ad antiquitum, (as is the gratuitus use of latin), isn’t it? By using idealized, “deified” icons of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle to somehow bolster the validity of the principles of rhetoric, the designer is saying, “Heed these wise, ancient men, and avoid these fallacies…” Rather than letting the obvious virtues of these rules speak for themselves. Really, this is Logic 101, first day lesson plans; there are no deep revelations here (although it is depressing how many people regularly employ these fallicies, and how few people are able to see through them). But by giving them fancy Latin names and attributing them to the semi-divine philosophers of antiquity, somehow they are given extra weight and significance. “Gravitas” is you will…


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