Talk:Logical fallacy

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Appeal to Intuition/Magical Thinking[edit]

I am surprised neither of these fallacies appear anywhere on wikipedia... I'm too timid to add them, and am wondering if there is any reason they don't exist? e.g. "This premise is false because it doesn't seem right" or "I don't know why, but I know that this is false". Perhaps they are just variants on the false premise fallacy, but I would think they would deserve some specific mention. -guest/wiki-newbie

Ad Hoc?[edit]

Is this vandalism? Ad Hoc isn't a logical fallacy that I know of. --The Yar 21:57, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Definitely not vandalism. This is the section that refers to the logical fallacy. Basically if you make a hypothesis then new data falsifies your hypothesis and you ammend it 'ad hoc' it is a logical fallacy. While ammending a hypothesis to incorporate new data is not neccessarily wrong, hypotheses that require constant 'ad hoc' adjustments are generally weak compared to ones where new data matches the existing theory. At least that is my understanding from high school forensics. --Rtrev 14:49, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Straw man?[edit]

Is this what a 'straw man' is? I've always been told that it is giving your opponents worst argument so that you can defeat it easily, hence, "setting up a straw man" refers to the act of choosing the worst argument. Hmm. --MichaelTinkler


I don't see the distinction between what the entry says and what you just said. I'm coming to suspect that I must be dense, though.  :-) --Koyaanis Qatsi


I think the distinction is that Michael's taking about actively messing someone's mind, whereas the article is passive: the person believes the fallacy... and also, Michael refers to the opponents true argument, not someone elses...

Maybe. [User:Dave McKee]


For "straw man", perhaps in place of

A logical fallacy in which a person misattributes a position to a person who does not hold it and then refutes it, therefore, to the unperceptive, proving the person "wrong."

the following would be more accurate

A logical fallacy in which an advocate presents an argument for the opposing position which is invalid and then refutes it, seeming, to the unperceptive, to prove the opposing position "wrong."

Right, but I thought the misattribution was part of it: that, regardless of whether the argument is invalid, it also had to be one that the person did not hold. Else why would it be a logical fallicy to prove an invalid argument invalid?


yep, I think that straw men are not logical fallacies but rhetorical tactics. They are distortions, but not untruths - your opponent holds the position, but you are caricaturing it.


Well, as far as I can tell, in most cases the Straw Man fallacy refers generally to the practice of refuting weaker arguments than your opponents actually offer. The terminology is based on a combat metaphor -- instead of grappling with your opponent's real arguments, you set up a straw man which is easier to knock down.

This can be done in a number of ways:

  1. By presenting one of your opponent's lesser arguments then refuting it and then going on as if you've refuted her whole argument.
  2. By presenting a modified version of your opponents argument which is weaker than their real argument and then treating the refutation of the weaker argument as a refutation of her real argument.
  3. By presenting an poor defender of a position as the defender of that position and then defeating her arguments, and acting as tha that were a refutation of the position.

I suppose some folks might want to limit the use of "straw man" to only one of the above situations, but I don't think we should treat these special cases as the standard. All of the above situations are commonly referred to as "setting up a straw man" and I think we should follow common use. I also think that common use allows for unintentionally setting up a straw man, by accidentally misrepresenting your opponent's argument. -- Mark Christensen


My (old, battered) logic textbook does indeed refer to it as only #2 above. But we should concede to common usage, I suppose, though perhaps with some caveat about whichever sense is most commonly strictly in the study of logic. --Koyaanis Qatsi


Of course it is not a fallacy to prove an invalid argument invalid. It is a fallacy to believe that doing so disproves the conclusion of the invalid argument.


I'll modify my above description to mention that some logic books treat the second case as the definitive, and to make clear that the fallacy is not the refutation of a week argument, but treating the refutation of the week argument as a refutation for all the arguments for that position. Then I'll replace the current page. There's far more information about the straw man fallacy here, than there is on the original page. --Mark Christensen


200702011934-600 The straw man actually fits the description the article gives for an "informal fallacy". The logic may be valid, but it proceeds from one or more false premises. The innacurate restatement of an opponent's premises is often unintentional, but nevertheless can result in an unsound valid argument that can appear to refute a valid argument that is sound.

"master dixit"?[edit]

Is "master dixit" really correct? I would have thought the Latin would be "magister dixit". (There's also "ipse dixit", which is essentially the same thing.) --Zundark, 2001 Sep 26


"no true Scotsman"[edit]

Calling the "no true Scotsman" argument a fallacy is incorrect. Allow me some examples:

A: No person of the Jewish Faith eats pork.

R: But my friend Chaim eats pork.

Rb: Ah yes, but no true person of the Jewish Faith eats pork.

I know several Jews who would consider this a perfectly correct example of the fallacy, as they consider themselves Jews and enjoy pork.

Well, fine. I think my point is still pretty clear, and someone kindly fixed up the entry to my satisfaction, except that I removed that part about "atrocities of religions..." as it seemed to be mean-spirited and contrary to NPOV. --Alex Kennedy
I disagree on both points. (A) Many Jews most certainly do eat pork. And eating pork is a clear violation of Jewish law. But it happens. Are these people thus not Jews? Nope - they are still Jews, they just are violating their law, and there are many of them. (B) The "No true Scottsman" argument certainly must be related to religious atrocities, as it is almost exclusivley used to justify murder and oppression in the name of God. I can't tell you how many people have said that "No Christian would be an anti-Semite", which is perhaps as ludricrous as claiming that "No true Jew would eat pork". Both statements are absolutely false. They intend on using dictionary definitions to argue away reprehensible religious atrocities, which have been found in people of all faiths. RK

--

A: No pacifist believes in using the atom bomb on civilians.

R: But my friend Mohandas wants to use such a bomb Pakistani civilians!

Rb: Ah yes, but no true pacifist wants to use the atom bomb on civilians.

The fact that someone can claim to be something they are not, or that someone can be thought to be something they are not, makes this argument not necessarily a fallacy.

Correct. It is not strictly a logical fallicy. Rather, it is a misleading argument in which one uses a dictionary's theoretical abstractions to distract people from the actions that occur in the real world. It is a logical hand-waving distraction. As LDC points out, it is an after-the-fact, and rarely justified narrowing of a definition in order to dance around counter-examples. RK
The above can't prove that No true Scotman isn't a fallacy. There is a difference. Refusing to eat pork or to use atom bombs on civilians may somehow be seen as part of the definitions of 'Jew' or 'pacifist', whereas liking sugar on porridge is by no means included in the definition of 'Scotman'. It's just a statistic datum: the overhelming majority of Scotmen like sugar on porridge. However, if you come from and/or live in Scotland, you are a sheer Scotman no matter how different you are than other Scotmen. I think 'No true Scotman' is an out-and-out fallacy.

I think there is a logically fallacy here, although maybe it's not clearly explained: it is the fallacy of narrowing your definitions after-the-fact to dance around counterexamples. This is a popular pastime of Creationists: those are just "microevolutions", not real evolution; OK, new species can evolve, but not "created kinds". What's a "created kind"? Well, the ones that God created. Where are the dividing lines? Well, wherever we need to draw them to avoid the evidence. --LDC


I think this is not so much a fallacy as an unsound argument (or is it invalid argument?). It results from using a different definition of a word than your opponent in a logical debate uses. Thus, in the above example the first speaker's definition of "Jew" includes "does not eat pork." The second speaker's definition does not include this. --KamikazeArchon

From the article:

This form of argument is a fallacy if the predicate ("putting sugar on porridge") is not actually contradictory for the accepted definition of the subject ("Scotsman"), or if the definition of the subject is silently adjusted after the fact to make the rebuttal work.

For instance a Jew eating pork only means that the Jew is violating Judewish law and custom it does not necessarily negate that persons Judaism. The same would go for a Catholic missing communion or a Muslim missing daily prayer. That is a fallacy in that the eating of pork has not proved the person not to be a Jew making the original statement false. However the pacifist argument above does not fit the No True Scotsman fallacy because advocating violence actually contradicts the definition of pacifist whereas no eating of pork is not necessarily definitional to Judaism.


Notice that I carefully said "person of the Jewish Faith," however. It is contrary to what is commonly defined as the Jewish Faith to eat pork.

Of course, it was a pretty poor example. I was looking for a borderline example to show that there are degrees of applicability to that form of argument. --Alex Kennedy


Okay. This is an American, Juuitchan, speaking. Since you-know-what happened, I have heard a lot of people saying various things about America and patriotism. A number of these things seem to fall under the "No true Scotsman" fallacy: such as, every true American speaks fluent English (or is in the process of learning to do so), is a Christian, etc. Anybody got any more of these?

Moved from "Other logical fallacies"[edit]

Some fallacies are used freely in the media and politics, for example, the "Argumentum ad hominem", the argument by the authority of a person. Every time a politician says another "You don't have moral authority to say that" is using that fallacy, not attacking the argument, but the person who uses it. In the opposite direction is the use of "Celebrity Speakerpersons": that product is good because (put your favorite celebrity here) endorses it.


Actually, I think this should just be added to logical fallacy (maybe). On the logical fallacy page you could make a subpage, like /List of fallacies, if you didn't want to list the fallacies right there on the page.

What do you call this fallacy?[edit]

Someone's new oven has a thermostat that, at a given setting, gives a cooler temperature than their old oven at the same setting. The person assumes the new oven is miscalibrated, when it could be that the old oven is miscalibrated.



The above seems to be an instance of the False dilemma fallacy:

Two alternative points of view are set up as if they were the only two options, namely:

Further, in referring to the given statement as "this fallacy", an argument is made against the first alternative, and the second alternative is thereby concluded.

But another possibility is that the premisses of the given statement don't take any one particular truth value at all, and that the statement is no logical argument, but plainly inconsistent and 'not even wrong'. This third possibility evidently obtains, since:

  • two distinct settings are not one and the same setting, and
  • if calibration of any one in relation to itself is obtained at all, then it necessarily succeeded.


Best regards, Frank W ~@) R, Jan 4, 2003.


Frank, I think you completely missed the point.

First of all, they were the "same setting" (number of degrees Fahrenheit). And by "calibrated " I mean that, when you set the thermostat to N degrees, the oven heats up to a temperature of N degrees and remains close to that temperature indefinitely. --J

As for: Frank, I think you completely missed the point.

J, the point I was trying to make was that your question was not very well posed, and could therefore (in your view) be missed. This possibility itself may constitute a logical fallacy which I'd be interested in resolving.

As for: First of all, they were the "same setting" (number of degrees Fahrenheit).

One particular (real number) value of "degrees Fahrenheit" is a commensurate value of temperature. If the two ovens are equal by this measure, then they their temperature was equal.
However, you seem to be referring only to some sort of labels or indicators.

As for: And by "calibrated " I mean that, when you set the thermostat to N degrees, the oven heats up to a temperature of N degrees and remains close to that temperature indefinitely

Then we seem to be using different notions of "calibration". I understand an indicator scale Σ oven and one particular set of real-valued numbers Θ to be calibrated if a map Θ f Σ oven is available as a relation between them: Θ fΣ oven : Σ oven ⇔ Θ, θ = Θ f Σ oven( σ oven ).


If two distinct ovens, A and B, are being considered, each with its own ideosynchratic scale, Σ A and Σ B, respectively, and suitable calibration maps Θ fΣ A and Θ fΣ B have been determined for both, then we can also consider the commensurate calibration relation between their individual scales, namely requiring that
θ = Θ f Σ A( σ A ) = Θ f Σ B( σ B ).
Surely it is a fallacy even to consider expressions such as "Θ f Σ A( σ B )"
i.e. to apply the calibration map Θ f Σ A of one oven to a scale indicator argument of another oven, σ B ...
Best regards, Frank W ~@) R 20:23 Jan 12, 2003 (UTC).

Fwappler, you haven't defined what a scale Σ A actually is. Are you just spouting symbols to confuse or is there meaning behind them? At any rate, it seems a little too conplex and concoluted for a simple article on logic. -- Tarquin 10:12 Jan 13, 2003 (UTC)

This is why I don't trust symbols: it's too easy to lose track of the meaning. I reason as follows: It is reasonable to expect that when you turn the knob of an oven to 350 degrees, you will, after the oven finishes heating up, have (close to) 350 degrees. If you do this to TWO ovens, you will have two temperatures both close to 350 degrees, and (one would suppose) close to each other. Frank, why don't you take a break from the symbols for a while, and go have a beer and/or watch basketball on TV? --J


As for: It is reasonable to expect that when you turn the knob of an oven to 350 degrees, you will, after the oven finishes heating up, have (close to) 350 degrees.

You still don't seem to distinguish between a measured temperature value, and some arbitrary label to which the knob is turned.
If that label didn't look like "350 degrees", but if it were altered or damaged or intentionally designed to look like, say, "35 eee"; or for some other oven "__0 __gr___" ... could your supposed question still be reasonably formulated to begin with?

As for: This is why I don't trust symbols: it's too easy to lose track of the meaning.

This is why I distrust claims of supposed "meaning" if they can't be formally expressed, for everyone to be understood equally ...

Regards, Frank W ~@) R 10:21 Jan 15, 2003 (UTC).


Rename page?[edit]

I for one move that we take the logical out of fallacy. That is retitle this listpage. I am not quite bold enough to do it by fiat, but I do feel quite strongly about it. Many significant types of fallacies are not of the logical variety! Cimon avaro 09:27 May 15, 2003 (UTC)

Restructure?[edit]

I think this is a perfect time to start a minor overhaul of the sub-page structure. I'll start things up with faulty generalization, see what you think of the way I structure and present things. Cimon avaro 01:19 18 May 2003 (UTC)

I suggest there should be a distinction between informal fallacies and (formal) logical fallacies, I read a bit about this in another (external) article, but I'm don't think I got the terms right, any light over the matter? --Rotem Dan 01:27 18 May 2003 (UTC)

Check my definition?[edit]

Would someone please check my definition of suppressed correlative, because I cannot find any references and did it from memory! -- Chris Q 06:48 29 May 2003 (UTC)

Definition now changed -- Chris Q 07:52 2 Jun 2003 (UTC)


Removing some text[edit]

Pulling this paragraph out because the wording as is implied to me that the examples above are valid argument forms. Rossami 02:46, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There are some argument forms that are themselves invalid. One of the best-known examples is affirming the consequent.

Concerning the No True Scotsman fallacy[edit]

I believe that to call this sort of dialogue an "argument" is incorrect to begin with, and that it doesn't make sense to call it either a fallacious or a correct argument. It's a case of two people not in agreement about what they're talking about to begin with, and no conclusions are claimed to be drawn by either party, beyond simple clarification of what the words they're using mean. (See my commentary at the link.) -pixote (165.121.147.137 02:54, February 17, 2004)

Concerning the Non Sequitur and the Red Herring[edit]

When I first found the logical fallacies page, the Red Herring was listed as a type of Non Sequitur. I felt that this was not quite correct.

A Non Sequitur is a conclusion that does not logically follow from its premise. In contrast, a Red Herring is a conclusion other than the one that was originally intended. For example, if one is starting from premise A and attempting to prove B, but instead proves C, then C is a red herring. On the other hand, C might actually logically follow from A, which would mean that it is a not a non sequitur.

I have updated the main page to reflect this.

-Jezz (203.166.57.12 11:03, April 12, 2004)

New format[edit]

I've played around with the formatting a bit. Arguments are sequential, so I've use numbered lists, not bulleted lists. And I've used blockquotes to set the arguments out from the text. Zeimusu 01:35, 2004 May 5 (UTC)

More examples[edit]

I while ago I added this link : http://www.geocities.com/safacta/fallacies.html

It contains many good examples. I think we can safely re-use these inside Wikipedia : they surely do not have a copyright on these example cases. Just to be different, we can change the names, the places and the events. Mathieugp 21:11, 10 May 2004 (UTC)


That's a good link, but I wouldn't be happy just copying it.

I also made some changes to the first paragraph. Shortened it, leaving it the barest bone essentials. If you're unhappy about it, please rip into it! Note the change in terminology soundness vs validity; The viewpoint here is Tarskian. Again, please rip into this if you're unhappy. We should make these pages the most important online resource for clear, critical thinking. CSTAR 15:57, 11 May 2004 (UTC)


Could we work in somewhere here, "negative pregnant"? Gary D 22:32, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Chewbacca Defense removed[edit]

"Chewbacca Defense" is not a generally established term for a logical fallacy, but just an example from a TV series of a fallacious legal defense. It's also nothing new since it can be described as a series of Red Herrings and Non sequiturs. You could link to it from either of these pages as an example of these fallacies, but it doesn't make sense to include it in this (hopefully) authoritative list.

False Analogy[edit]

Should this be added to the list? Filiocht 13:28, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

I am not sure that an analogy (false or otherwise) is a logical argument. Isn't it just an illustration. A false analogy could really be a hasty generalization. -- Chris Q 06:34, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Here are some online sources that seem to consider it a fallacy:

An interestingly mixed bag, I think you'll agree. I'm going to add a red link to the list now. Filiocht 08:54, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I like the first reference, which states that analogies are not a logical argument but describes it as it is a wideley used form of argument anyway. I think that it is worth emphasising that argument from analogy is itself a logical fallacy. -- Chris Q 10:17, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Thank you![edit]

This article is the ideal compendium of all the rhetorical fallacies I have been seeking to collect in one place, for many years. Sloppy thinkers (myself included), watch out! Many thanks to all the editors who made this article the reality it is! Thank you! Hu 07:14, 2004 Nov 30 (UTC)

POV[edit]

The main reason why people accuse others of making logical fallacies is to discredit their opponents and their views (which is in itself a rhetorical device!). This article is biased against rhetoric, but amusingly enough, it uses the some of the very same rhetorical devices it accuses others of! This article also makes the assumption that logical thinking is superior to other forms of thinking. Critical 02:26, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Hmmm. OK, I'll try to answer your points.

  • The main reason why people accuse others of making logical fallacies is to discredit their opponents and their views.
Indeed, it may be true that one reason why people accuse others of making logical fallacies is to discredit their opponents and their views. Whether that's the main reason is a matter for empirical research. Do you have a reference to this research, or at least why do you believe this is true? Moreover, the category of logical fallacies is a very old one. It certainly wasn't invented here.
Whether that fact is true or not is irrelevant for the article. The point of the article is to provide a reference to recognize whether logical fallacies are present in an argument or not.
When I'm reading something, I want to be able to recognize the structure of the argument used and whether it makes sense or not. Being critical about discourse is not the same thing as trying to discredit an opponents' argument.
  • This article is biased against rhetoric.
I don't see how you can argue that. It seems to me that the article goes to great lengths to talk about argumentative dialogue and other forms of reasoning.
  • This article also makes the assumption that logical thinking is superior to other forms of thinking.
The article certainly doesn't make that claim explicitly. If in some way it makes that claim implicitly, I don't see that and would ask you to be more explicit about it. It does assert the distinction between truth and falsehood given some interpretation of the terms, but again the article clearly goes to great lengths to allow varying interpretations of terms in assertions.
Would you argue for instance that physics is POV because it makes the assumption that physical laws should be empirically tested and not by some other means?

I look forward to your response. And you should be aware, that I am not against rhetoric. Quite the contrary; for instance On the logic talk page I have argued forcefully for its value in discourse. CSTAR 02:51, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)


About Users Critical and CStar[edit]

For the record, the user Critical ( talk, contributions), who slapped the "disputed NPoV" sticker on this page, has made his or her first edits tonight (or today) and within less than two hours has attacked eight articles for PoV, including (ironically given the CStar example given on the Logical fallacy talk page), Physical law. These were the only "edits" (plus weak justifications on talk pages in the same vein as this one). I don't think the PoV claim has merit. We may ask if this series of attacks is to be taken seriously.

For the following reasons I am thinking that these pages has been the victim of a tiresome semi-sophisticated troll and the PoV sticker should be removed sooner rather than later, if not immediately. We may note that CStar ( talk, contributions) after making edits, paused during the period user Critical made edits, and then CStar took up responding to these edits after the series of user Critical edits ends, as if there is only one user involved, and the user logged out, changed cookies and logged back in. Further, user CStar left a note on Charles Matthew's talk page, Chalst's talk page, and Angela's talk page pointing to a supposed PoV accusation placed on the Logical argument page, when in fact no such sticker has been placed. Perhaps the irony regarding the Physical law page is not so ironic. Hu 05:17, 2004 Dec 1 (UTC)

I'm sorry I'm not sure I understand your point, but you seem to be suggesting I put these POV banners? CSTAR 13:41, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'll certainly remove the POV banner here. And yes I did mention logical argument when I should have mentioned logical fallacy. That was a mistake. I've worked on both those pages. CSTAR 14:09, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I was mystified by the targeted nature of the edits, the timing of the edits, the apparent irony, and the misdirection in the response. If you disclaim responsibility, CStar, then that is fine with me, pending further information or developments. Hu 01:30, 2004 Dec 2 (UTC)

Point of information[edit]

(This text is included here for completeness)

I have responded to this on the logical fallacy talk page, as well as on the pages of the above mentioned users. It does appear that these pages were as Hu suggests the victim of a tiresome semi-sophisticated troll. But I wasn't the perpetrator. This suggestion appears to have been an honest mistake, I consider the matter closed, and it appears that Hu does as well. CSTAR 01:46, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Distribution misuse - another statistical fallacy[edit]

There is another class of statistical fallacies, which I have observed (related to, but not quite, biased sample and statistical special pleading): Infering a mean value or correlation (or anything else) from an incomplete distribution of random variable.

Example of wrong mean value (which I made up):

  1. Most of the best universities in the world are in the USA.
  2. Therefore, USA has the best system of universities (average university is better than average university anywhere else).

This is wrong, because we look only how the distribution of quality of universities looks among those best, and estimated a mean value of the whole distribution. But it is possible that USA also has many very bad universities, so we cannot say anything about their system.

Example of wrong correlation:

  1. Intelligent and beautiful women are less common than beautiful women of average intelligence.
  2. Intelligent and beautiful women are less common than intelligent women of average beauty.
  3. Therefore, intelligent woman is probably not beautiful, and vice versa (there is correlation between intelligent and beautiful).

It is perfectly possible that beauty and intelligence are in fact independent variables. But we don't know this unless we look at how many average women there are in ratio to other 3 categories. So we infered the correlation by looking only to incomplete distribution.

Although the background I gave is quite mathematical, this is widely (mis)used in the way I presented the examples, so I hope someone will write an easier to understand explanation. Samohyl Jan 00:22, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Those phenomena, based on excessive trust in numbers, or worse, in too small or too short series of number, are sometimes quoted under the "law of small numbers", the "numeracy biases", and, in a specific case, here wikipedia has an article, the gambler's fallacy. Some behavioral finance researchers have worked on those biases behavioral finance faq / glossary --Pgreenfinch 07:59, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't think these two are similar. My examples are fallacies based on incomplete part of probabilistic distribution rather than on too small statistical sample. The distribution used may well be correct. Maybe it should be classified as misuse of probability, not statistics. I think it deserves mention here, because it's often used as fallacious argument, even where there are no "hard" numbers involved (as in above examples). Samohyl Jan 09:07, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I see what you mean, some tunnel vision, which might come from an initial prejudice and is applied to the selection / interpretation of data or facts. I agree it deserves mention, the only things are how to call this specific bias and where to find references. I would be interested also to get more explanations and resources. If somebody can help... --Pgreenfinch 10:15, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

List of fallacies[edit]

False premise is certainly an instance of flawed reasoning, but it is not a fallacy in the sense of the article. That is it is not a flaw in the structure of an argument (nor a flaw in the structure of the dialectic process in the case of an argumentative dialogue). I believe it should be removed from this list, or at least qualified. Note that I am not proposing elimination of the article false premise. CSTAR 14:44, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Advertisers use logical fallacies to sell their products. But it would be a logical fallacy to suggest that this means they're tricking us, so can you? (213.166.17.24 13:23, March 2, 2005)

Logical fallacy and Fallacy[edit]

The relation between these two articles is not clear. One would expect logical fallacy to be a subtype of fallacy, but in fact this longer "logical fallacy" article seems to deal with the same subject as the shorter "fallacy article". I think the relation should be explained or the two articles merged.--Georgius 11:08, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the trouble is with technical versus common usage. Technically logical fallacy is a particular kind of fallacy in an argument. However, people not educated formally in logic usually call every fallacy in argument a logical fallacy. This is at least historically improper. (I wish to avoid the debate over the two approaches to usage).
The introduction of the "logical fallacy" article captures the distinction properly: "A logical fallacy is an error in logical argument which is independent of the truth of the premises. It is a flaw in the structure of an argument as opposed to an error in its premises..." After the first paragraph the article rapidly descends into "fallacy". I feel that most, but not all, of the content in "logical fallacy" should be merged into "fallacy"
The opening of the "fallacy" article also captures the difference:
The term fallacy denotes any mistaken statement used in an argument. In logic, it specifically means an argument that violates the rules of formal demonstration. Beginning with Aristotle, fallacies have generally been placed in one of three catagories: a material fallacy (misstatement of facts), a verbal fallacy (improper use of words), or a logical fallacy (also called a formal fallacy—a mistake in the process of inference). The latter two fallacies are called fallacies in dictione (L., in delivery) or in voce (L., in expression), as opposed to material fallacies in re (L. in fact/cause/property) or extra dictionem (outside of/beside delivery).
Also, though fallacy is the shorter article; it's information density is 1) higher 2) more accepted in a technical sense.
--Pearlg 22:30, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Another type of fallacy?[edit]

I wonder if this should be listed on fallacies or not. Can't think of a name for it .. well, might have something to do with ignorance, or wrong use of the concept of "fairness". I'll give an example.

A: The computers of today are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than their creators. See, the one I bought yesterday asked me to connect my camera! How did it know that I had one?

B: Computers really do not "know" anything, they just follow pre-described deterministic algorithms with some initial data and user input.

A: I'm not a technical person, so you should give me some leverage and drop the tech jargon. From what I can tell, it's wiser than anyone I've met!

(Alternative A: I'm a botanist so don't get technical on me. I'll just argue with you on the basis on my personal experience that the machine is as wise as anyone.) 62.220.237.74 10:32, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Short version: I haven't gone to as many schools as you have, so you should let me use my line of reasoning.

Maybe this is a one type of special pleading? 193.166.173.23 11:37, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is an example of miscommunication for which you could blame B as well as A. Suppose that A simply does not understand what B is saying: in that case you could argue that it is not reasonable from B to expect that someone who asks a qustion like this would know what are "pre-described deterministic algorithms with some initial data and user input". You do not know what how A would react if B said "Well, someone knowledgable had to program the computer to react this way".

Or: A was just joking and B reacted like a stuffed shirt. --Georgius 17:35, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Heads I win, Tails you lose[edit]

Would someone be kind enought to categorize this statement into a particular fallacy and also add it as an example to that page? Thanks much.--Metron4 03:42, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

A logical fallacy is a improperly formed argument. "Heads I win, Tails you lose" isn't an argument, so it can't be considererd a logical fallacy. --Flatline 15:22, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

the fallacy of "logical fallacies" article[edit]

I am new to this article so I am not going to make any edits--I'm only going to mention several concerns and leave it for discussion for now.

Countless Wikipedia posters rely on alleged logic to build a case of what belongs in Wikipedia-including posters to this “logical fallacy” article. Much like in the real world of law and courts-- I'd conclude that it is likely the definitions within this page (as with NPOV) carry some special power over other articles-as no doubt the concepts are constantly referenced. While I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted here—I'm going to suggest Wikipedians are trying (keyword)to be logical. According to my interpretation of the “NPOV” article the politics or fears that facts present should be left to the readers imagination. Although this is not observed for certain sensitive subjects (“bomb making”) NPOV (at the moment) says...

“Unbiased writing does not present only the most popular view; it does not assert the most popular view is correct after presenting all views; “

This creates an interesting dilemma as it could be argued the premise of NPOV and therefore all Wikipedia articles themselves (including this one) are based on faulty logic. Where am I coming up with this? Wales and Sanger parted ways at least partially because Sanger believed Wikipedia became “argumentum ad populum “(an appeal to the majority) I personally side with Wales but this does not mean the Sanger did not have a point--as this is a widely accepted “logical fallacy”.

So what gives with this discrepancy?

I would say that when one omits too many facts that can lead to deception. I find the current version of “logical fallacies” useful for its list of fallacies--- but the article itself is quite lacking in several areas and needs a major rework to help recognize these types of philosophical problems. The word “fallacy” itself implies “error” therefore it seems reasonable the entire concept of a “logical fallacy” should be examined for errors as well.

So taking all the above into account here is a synopsis of my beefs.

1.WHERE IS THE CRITICISM? Without listing at least some alternatives it compromises the objectiveness of the “logical fallacy” article. I base this on my previous assertion that the NPOV definition seems to demand that Sanger and Wales type logic conflicts should be noted. Dependence of the “Logic article” to fill the gap (which is also very weak philosophically)-- only strengthens the omission deception I mentioned previously.

2.Related to the previous point--one alternative to account for Sanger and Wales type issues is links and brief descriptions to the philosophical camp which is largely responsible for these concepts to begin with. I believe there are two distinct groups trying to wrest control of the article here--the legal world and the philosophical world. I base this on the fact that at the moment the word philosophy is not mentioned once but a legalese listing does exist. I don't know who is king in a Wikipedia article but the NPOV mandate would seem to suggest inclusion of philosophy is a must for this article. Sophists, Kant, Nietzsche, Derrida, and much of post-modernism offers well recognized (albeit controversial) alternate views as to the nature of logical fallacies. They need not be discussed in depth-- yet it seems unreasonable to not have those criticisms mentioned and links provided. Some may hate discussing philosophical criticisms and relationships when discussing "logic fallacies" but there are undeniable links.

3. Why is there no discussion about the history of “logical fallacies”? Again it would seem quite reasonable given their importance to both the legal and philosophical worlds. Even religion should probably be mentioned. There seems to be no historical perspective on the evolution of what represents a "logic fallacy". This is another huge omission.

4.Finally. Why is there no mention of specific practical uses of logical fallacy concepts in the world today? Courts, law, politics, philosophy, etc? Even connections to propaganda are missing.

I have no wish to get into “edit wars” but this article "begs" for a rewrite. The article is not listed as "list of logical fallacies"--it is simply "logical fallacies". Please forgive any logical fallacies I myself make and weigh the balance of my arguments.

Respectfully J. (209.161.208.41 Revision as of 08:34, August 22, 2005)

Stonewall/Unreasonable Denial/Mocking Unfamilliar Words[edit]

Have these been considered as parts of a fallacious argument?

Are these real logical fallacies? They don't seem to be flaws in logical reasoning but rather, childish retorts sometimes used during an argument. That said, perhaps I just haven't seen them used in a context where they actually are logical fallacies... --Yamla 23:19, September 11, 2005 (UTC)
They just might be poor style over substance arguments

-- ColdRedRain

Better word for "interlocutor"?[edit]

I would like to see the word "interlocutor" replaced. I think the word is overly complex and actually hurts communication. I looked up the word, and think a simpler word could suffice. I suggets "audience" if it is appropriate. If it is the other side of the arguement, I would suggest proponent or advocate. 192.132.64.229 21:15, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree, good catch. I made the change. StuRat 21:38, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Yet another type of logical fallacy?[edit]

I haven't found this fallacy yet in the list, maybe somebody could classify it:

A: A comparison of the leading online music stores concluded "If you simply want to download music from the charts, then Yahoo is your cheapest options. For your MP3 player, there are several options, with Yahoo the best. If you're an iPod owner... then you're stuck with iTunes."
B: Oh no! A mass suicide of iPod owners has been reported on the eve that they discovered they were "stuck" with iTunes. (source)

Let's assume that A mentioned a valid concern about iPods. B used a Appeal to ridicule, correct, but the center of the fallacy seems to be something else, it's a three-step process:

  1. To exaggerate your opponent's point,
  2. making fun of this just created exaggeration,
  3. and then redirecting this mocking towards the original argument.

Is there a name for this logical fallacy? Peter S. 13:33, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Strawman. --Hob Gadling 11:41, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Perfect. Thanks :-) Peter S. 21:06, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Is there a name for this fallacy?[edit]

There is a fallacy I've observed several times but I don't know if there is a name for it. I looked through the list and didn't see anything that sounded like it, but maybe I missed it.

The fallacy is used by Person B to invalidate Person A's criticism of (or more general comment about) something by pointing out that Person A is not an expert or experienced veteran in the subject and therefore is supposedly not qualified to comment on the subject at all.

Example:

Person A: "The prose in this novel is hackneyed."

Person B: "How many novels have you written?" or some other variation suggesting that in order to criqtique a published work Person A must have also published work, especially equal or superior work. thoreaubred 03:52, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

This sounds like an inverse of the appeal to authority argument:
  • Appeal to authority: "We should accept what experts say, without argument, as correct."
  • Inverse: "We should reject what non-experts say, without argument, as wrong."
StuRat 18:37, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Also note, that in the particular case you mentioned, you can be an expert on READING novels, as distinct from being an expert on WRITING them. Thus you could be qualified to offer opinions on whether this novel makes sense to the reader, but perhaps not on knowing how many pages can be written per day by a professional writer. StuRat 18:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think this type of argument is an appeal to authority, per se. An appeal to authority would have to be along the lines of "you are wrong because X authority says you are wrong", not "you are wrong because you lack the expertise to be an authority". Rather, this fallacy sounds like a form of ad hominem; any argument that a certain point is incorrect based on the qualifications, personality, disposition, social status, race, sex, intelligence, integrity, or any other quality of the speaker is an argumentum ad hominem. Whether that specific form of ad hominem has a name, I don't know; it may be given some names somewhere on the Internet that are too obscure to merit Wikipedia articles. -Silence 21:10, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it's an appeal to authority either, but rather the inverse of an appeal to authority. StuRat 21:28, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but it's not quite that either, unless you can "appeal to authority" by telling the person you're arguing with that he or she is correct as a result of his credentials and his status as an "authority". I've never seen an appeal to authority that deals with the authority of one of the speakers; I thought it required a third party. So:
  • Appeal to authority: "Your statement is wrong because X authority says it is wrong."
  • Inverse appeal to authority: "Your statement is wrong because X authority doesn't say it is right." -Silence 21:44, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
I think it's sort of a variation of Argumentum Ad Lazarum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_lazarum ColdRedRain 22:00, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Is this a fallacy? Name?[edit]

Is this a fallacy: pointing out one or a few things that are unlikey but did happen while ignoring all of the other unlikely things that didn't happen? If so, what is its name? An example: x happened, but it was a 1 in a million chance that it would happen (a priori), therefore something unusual happened - while ignoring 999,999 other things that also had a 1 in a million chance of happening, but didn't happen. Bubba73 (talk) 05:17, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Texas sharpshooter fallacy? --Hob Gadling 11:38, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't know the name, but have an example. I frequently find myself reading a page here and encounter a term that is rarely used in the real world, only to hear it elsewhere in short order afterwards. This just happened with game theory. I read that article, then a few days later, a Nobel Prize was awarded for it. When considered alone, this seems highly unlikely. However, as I have read hundreds of articles, and encountered thousands of rarely used terms, and each of those could have been encountered in thousands of ways in the "real world", the chance of encountering one of them shortly after reading about it here was quite high, so it's wrong to consider this a rare coincidence. StuRat 11:41, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Also note that this logical fallacy seems to be the basis for "intelligent design":
  • "The chances of evolution working on Earth to arrive at humans is one in a trillion, so some intelligence must be directing evolution here."
This argument ignores the sextillion other planets in the universe and many other possible forms of intelligent life that could have arrived on each. Earth is only "special" because it's where we are. If intelligent life didn't evolve here we wouldn't likely care, or even know about, Earth. If intelligent life of some other type had evolved on a planet of Alpha Centauri, they would be thinking the same thing "how incredibly unlikely that our form of life happened to evolve here, it must have been directed by our God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster". StuRat 11:58, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
That is sort of what I had in mind. A somewhat example would be a lottery in which each ticket has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of winning. A ticket is drawn at random, and that person wins. The chance that that particular person wins is small, but it isn't remarkable because someone would win. A friend was telling me about some coincidences. He asked me what the probability of that happening is. I said that a priori it would be very small, but after it has happened, it has happened, and I said that he was ignoring all of the events with small probability that didn't happen. If you have a large number of unlikely events, some of them will happen by chance, and that is nothing unusual. Bubba73 (talk) 17:33, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Beware that there is a differences depending on your point of view, though. If you win the big jackpot in the lottery then that is an incredible coincidence, to you. However, you winning the lottery is not a coincidence to people who don't know you, since somebody was sure to win. That's the nature of this fallacy, mischaracterising a local coincidence as a global one. StuRat 18:31, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
There is even a con based on this fallacy: A con artist sends out letters to, say 1024 people, with each half getting a different set of predictions, say which sports team will win an event. 512 will be right and 512 will be wrong (if we assume a draw is not possible). To the 512 people to which the right prediction was made, they send another prediction, with 256 right and 256 wrong. They continue until 10 predictions have been made, and one person was given all the right predictions. This person is then absolutely convinced that the con artist is a true pyschic and is willing to give them a large sum of money for their next prediction, in the hopes that they can gamble and make that money back, and more, since they will know the next winner. StuRat 18:43, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Here's an actual example. A freind had been reading a story about "King Rat" or someone had been telling him about the story. Shortly after that he gets in the car and a rat runs across the street. He asks me about the chances of that coincidence happening. I tell him that the a priori probability is small, but it has alredy happened, so the probability doesn't mean much. I tell him that he's ignoring the thousands or millions of equally improbable events that didn't happen (by chance). Bubba73 (talk) 23:43, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
What I'm talking about is called the "law of truly large numbers" at this web site. Bubba73 (talk) 00:10, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

I think this is the Prosecutor's fallacy -- Chris Q

Asking the question[edit]

StuRat has added asking the question but I think this is an error, and that he means begging the question - they seem identical. In a collaborative article of this type I'm reluctant to just move it out, though. What say? -Just zis Guy, you know? 16:36, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

I see nothing in common other than the names both end with "the question". What similarities do you see ? StuRat 17:01, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Begging the question means a question in which the answer is implicit. Your example is exactly that. Since I have never heard the phrase "asking the question" before (despite a long-standing interest in logical fallacies for reaosns I won't bore you with), and since I have been offered "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" as an example of beggin the question, I was prompted to ask. I am not saying you're wrong, but I am asking whether anyone else has come across this usage, and whether it is genuinely distinct. - Just zis Guy, you know? 19:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
The difference from your example would be that the asking the question form would simply be "does he beat his wife ?". This does not make the claim that he has, in the past, beaten his wife, as "has he stopped beating his wife, yet ?" implicitly does. The listener is supposed to think that it makes such a claim, but, in actuality, it does not. StuRat 20:54, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
What is fallacious about asking a question without assuming the answer? -- Just zis Guy, you know? 21:00, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
The fallacy isn't in the question, per se, but rather in the listener's interpretation, which goes something like this: "Someone is asking if he beat his wife. They wouldn't ask that unless they have some evidence that he does. Therefore, there must be evidence that he beats his wife". StuRat 21:23, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
The fallacy in the "have you stopped beating your wife?" is twofold. The first fallacy is indeed that it's a weighted question (or may be, depending on the context; if the guy's already admitted to beating his wife in the past in the conversation, it's not!) and suggests that there's some reason to think the person being questioned beats his wife even without providing evidence for it. But the more important fallacy is that the question feigns being a "yes/no" question, but is unanswerable using just those two options (unless you want to admit to beating your wife at some point): if you say "no", it means that you're still beating your wife, and if you say "yes", then it means that you aren't beating your wife but you used to. Of course, if you don't have a wife, it's even more ridiculous. -Silence 22:00, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
The issue remains: is simply asking a question, in and of itself, a logical fallacy, as StuRat suggests? -- Just zis Guy, you know? 22:37, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
As I explained above, asking the question isn't the fallacy, the fallacy is in the misinterpretation by the listener that the question implies that evidence exists of the activity in question. StuRat 23:13, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
In which case the questioner commits no logical error. Are there any authorities for this being a fallacy? -Just zis Guy, you know? 13:08, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
I never said the questioner commits a logical error. The error is committed by the listener (which is the intent of the questioner). StuRat 13:31, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
I have no difficulty understanding what you are saying, but I still do not see how the mere asking of a provocative question amounts to a logical fallacy. Do you have any other authorities for this being classed as a fallacy? -Just zis Guy, you know? 17:12, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
You say you have no difficulty, and yet you keep asking about something I simple am not saying. Let me make it as clear as possible:
  • Is simple asking a question a fallacy ? NO !
  • Is interpretting that question as a claim that evidence exists to support the supposition a fallacy ? YES !
Perhaps this could be described as a rhetorical device, but I believe a logical fallacy is more accurate. BTW, I have added more to the asking the question article to make this all clear, so take a look at it again. StuRat 17:59, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, there are other fallacies like this, where the speaker intends to mislead the audience, yet does not actually commit a logic error, but instead relies on the audience to commit the error. Saying "She is a thespian !", for example, would be misinterpretted by many to mean lesbian, especially if it is said in an accusatory manner and the audience doesn't know what a thespian is. StuRat 18:12, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
I have read it twice. So, I will ask again: what other authorities do you have for this being a fallacy? I have a long-standing interest in logical fallacies, and I have never heard this usage before. As I say, I don't dispute that it might be a fallacy, but I am not yet convinced. So, some other examples of this usage, some other authorities? -Just zis Guy, you know? 21:25, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Purported fallacy Asking the question[edit]

StuRat's asking the question is not a well-known fallacy. If it is, then please provide a reference. More to the point, what does this fallacy refer to:

  1. A rhetorical device used by the questioner, intended for example to confuse the listener or to suggest irrelevant considerations in the mind of the listener? In which case it may be something else, such as a red herring.
  2. The listener's act of misinterpretation or his state of confusion in pondering irrelevant alternatives? What about other misinterpretations or other irrelevant considerations in the listener's mind.
The difference here is that the statement is DESIGNED to mislead the listener, it's not an accident. How to categorize such "deceptive speech" is problematic, however, do we call this a logical fallacy (in the listener's mind) or rhetorical device or what ? Another example of a similar argument designed to confuse is the famous "...his sister is a thespian...", designed to make the audience think she is a lesbian. StuRat 14:38, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Given that this does not appear to be well-known and documented, it counts as original research.--CSTAR 19:22, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. I have nothign against StuRat and nothing against its inclusion if it is a documented fallacy, but I have not come across it before (as I said) and to be blunt the article is quite long enough already, with several instances being nuances of others (and I acknowledge my own complicity in this). -Just zis Guy, you know? 08:50, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
The asking the question fallacy has been rolled into fallacy of many questions, which I oppose, but won't fight. IMO it's sufficiently different to merit it's own article. StuRat 14:43, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Causality??[edit]

Maybe someone can point out fallacies which better phrase, or include the following: what could be called "premature set completion". An example would be fallacies of causality (Rigorously these examples have some rough edges):

say all members of set A imply predicate b.
b states "my car ceases to function"
a1 = running out of gas
suppose we know a1 implies b is indeed true.
FALSE: "if my car ceases to function it must have run out of gas" (even if gas gauge read near empty)

The fallacy is prematurely regarding the set A to consist entirely of a1, whereas many things could cause a car not to function. This could be extended to another form of causal fallacy by considering

say all members of A imply predicate c, c="my rpm gauge goes to 0"

Then an unknown element of A can simultaneously imply b and c, so it could be reasoned

FALSE: "if my rpm gauge breaks it will cause my car to cease functioning"

It seems that causality requires proof of converses, forming an equivalence of logic in an asymetry in time, but suppose we had a mechanically perfect car, and the only way it could stop would be to run out of gas. Then could we say that the car stopping causes the car to run out of gas, as well? OK, I just skimmed causality, and needless to say one can quickly be in quite deep when casually reflecting on such philosophical issues. At any rate, perhaps these fallacies should be mentioned in the article.--RichG 08:23, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Seems like a simple affirming the consequent: If A1 then B. B, therefore A1. 64.216.205.121 03:28, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Request for discussion[edit]

There is a proposal to rename the Bandwagon fallacy article, please visit its talk page for discussion. Shawnc 17:09, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

FUTON bias[edit]

Is FUTON bias a logical fallacy? --136.142.46.175 20:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

  • It's a failing of research, not a logical fallacy. Maybe there is a place for common errors of research? - Just zis Guy, you know? 21:01, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
  • no. it has no logical argument. only limited sources. --Ollj 20:28, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

two more entries for the "list of fallacies"[edit]

The "naturalistic fallacy", identified by philosopher David Hume (1711–1776), occurs when reasoning jumps from statements about what is to prescription about what ought to be.

An example of the naturalistic fallacy: approving of all wars if scientific evidence showed warfare was part of human nature.

The converse of the naturalistic fallacy is the "moralistic fallacy"

- jumping from prescriptions about what ought to be

to statements about what is.

An example of the moralistic fallacy: claiming that, because warfare is wrong, it cannot be part of human nature.

i hope a better writer will add these to the text.

thank you.

p.s. i apologise, the odd formatting is inadvertent and beyond my knowledge to correct.

Using cited examples only[edit]

One way to promote WP:NPOV and improve the quality of articles about logical fallacies (Category:Logical fallacies) is to use only cited examples in the articles, replacing randomly made up examples by actual quotes, or at least actual beliefs by the population at large. Consider WP:NOR. Shawnc 17:32, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


Link to list of logical fallacies[edit]

It seems that there is a nice list of logical fallacies on the fallacies page, but this page has only a small italicies note about it. I was looking up logical fallacies to get the name of one of the types of ad hominem, and I typed in logical fallacies because I thought that would be where I would find a list. I would recommend making the link to the list on the fallacies page a little more obvious.

Also, why does list of logical fallacies redirect to this page, when the list is on the fallacies page?

  • Update: I realized why it redirects to this page, it is because it was made to redirect to it before the list was moved to fallacies. Therefore I updated the redirect to go to fallacies instead of here.


Who is the idiot who removed the List of Logical Fallacies page and made it redirect to the Fallacy page? Do you not understand the usefulness of a list without an accompanying article? Why have you idiots suddenly decided to destroy the logical fallacies pages? PLEASE bring back the List of Logical Fallacies page. I used to direct people to that page in conversations. I'm not going to direct them to 'Fallacy' when what the need access to is the list that USED to exist.

As far as I know this is a non-issue. There is now no merge. Also, more civility would be nice. Rtrev 06:34, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

FUD?[edit]

FUD certainly is a rhetorical strategy, but could we also count it as a logical fallacy? Peter S. 19:36, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Links[edit]

We seem to have passed the Spam Event Horizon with the external links here.

I pruned most of them per my reading of WP:EL. I left Stephen Downes in there because it's the one I've most often seen cited, but arguably that is alos redundant per the internal list which is already linked - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] 21:47, 7 February 2006 (UTC)


Hi JzG,

I think you've gone somewhat overboard, given wikipedia is often a better starting point than google for people to try and find websites on fallacies. I've re-added a few more, including my own (which no-doubt someone will decide need to go!), that specifically deal with fallacies. On this basis, surely most wikipedia readers who look up the entry on fallacies would benefit from finding them, or at the very least, surely they can be trusted to make up their own minds?

WRT humbug! Online, I see no significant difference between it and The Fallacy Files (or the other sites I've added). They are all useful sites apropos to deepening one's understanding of informal fallacies and using an understanding of fallacious reasoning in everyday situations.

It's a somewhat circular argument (Ie., Begging the question), but believe I am in a position to be able to evaluate the usefulness of fallacy sites (Appeal to Authority), given it is one of my areas of interest, especially in a teaching and learning environment… :)

All the best Theo Clark 17:34, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Unless users have a problem with it I think I am going to remove www.thenonsequitur.com from the links. It doesn't add a lot not covered elsewhere. I am generally loathe to enter into political arguments but it is a pretty partisan site. I looked through three pages of it and most of it is seemingly biased attacks on the logic of conservative writers. There are even several instances in which logical fallacies are attacked with equally fallacious logic (which initially confused me into thinking that the critiques were what was being critiqued). If no one has serious objections I am going to remove it. --Rtrev 18:51, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

the heck?[edit]

Critical thinking is a logical fallacy? LOL. I'm removing that.... Kuroune 02:14, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Fallacies by intention[edit]

I've read that Aristotel (I think) sugessted a categorisation of logical fallacies according to the intention of the person that commited them, on intentional and unintentional fallacies. This categorisation is not used today, but it might be mentioned as a historical wiev. -- Obradović Goran (talk 16:23, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

This could apply to just about any logical fallacy. Surely for every faulty logic type, someone has realized the fault in their logic, yet still used it, figuring their audience was not smart enough to see the flaw. StuRat 19:27, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"[edit]

This seems, if extended to mean only those who are without sin can punish others for their transgressions, to be a logically flawed argument. This would mean that nobody (except perhaps babies, who are incapable of doing so), could punish others, resulting in anarchy.

I've seen something similar, which I call the "who are we (or you) to complain" argument. For example, if Switzerland had complained about the Rwanda genocide and wanted to do something about it, let's just say weak economic sanctions, someone could say "but the Swiss were neutral in WW2, which amounts to complicity in genocide, so who are you to complain ?". If you go back far enough into the history of any individual, organization, or country, you can always find some fault, which can then be used to argue they have no right to criticize or take actions against others, no matter how bad their actions.

This would be a type of ad hominem argument, but is there a name for this specific type ? StuRat 19:27, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I think I found it (Ad_hominem#You-too_version under Ad_hominem#Ad_hominem_tu_quoque). Is this the correct one for both the genocide and casting stones examples ? There does seem to be a slight diff in that in my examples the former actions of the Swiss or the sinners are not nearly as bad as the current events. StuRat 19:42, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Just a note to the original author. You are missing the logical point of "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The whole point was exactly that no one was fit to judge the prostitute they were about to stone other than Jesus/God (the one without sin). Its not that the logic is necessarily flawed so much as it doesn't make for great governing rules in large societies. Rtrev 19:00, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Only whose who did not sin are allowed to argument is the very exact extreme meaning of ad hominem! "be without sin to be allowed for stoning/argumenting" is ad hominem because it uses sinning, having done something bad, to be allowed to argument, or to stone someone if taken literally.

Relativist Fallacy[edit]

Lately I've encountered several arguments that hinged on "how can you oppose A when B is so much worse", where A and B are related but independent. For example:

  • How can you be against gun control when cars kill more people than guns?
  • How can you be against what our troops did in Abu Ghraib when Saddam Hussein was so much worse?
  • How can you be against Saddam Hussein when the LRA and Janjaweed in Africa are so much more barbaric?

"Relativist fallacy" is a bad name for it since that could be confused with moral relativism which is not a related topic. Is this a type of red herring? Sorenr 01:45, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Well there is also no real logic statement in those kinds of positions. They are questions and don't propose anything based on facts. Those kind of statements are kind of like non sequiturs more than anything else. Rtrev 03:44, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

The 1st and 3rd seem to be comparing independent events, which is pointless (why not make guns AND cars safer ?). The 2nd statement does compare dependent events, at least. One could rewrite it as a logical argument: "Certain abuses, such as Abu Ghraib, are inevitable in any war. However, if that war (abuses included) is an improvement over the previous situation, in this case Saddam's genocidal regime, then that war is the lesser of two evils." StuRat 07:12, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I merged this article with fallacy for the following reasons:[edit]

  • Logical fallacy is a subsection of Fallacy, by namespace and definitions.
  • The bad definition of 'logical fallacy' is to ambiguous and self contradicting!
  • Logical Fallacy is a short article, barely worth an article by wikipedia standarts defined.
  • Fallacy already contaied 25% of this article, some parts copied word by word.
  • Fallacy already contaied ALL "common fallacies" links.
  • Fallacy is only about "logical fallacies" & General examples of causality & informal and Verbal logic ... as defined by their categories below Category:Logical fallacies.
  • Fallacy is not generally about fallacies, deceptive, misleading, false notion or belief, misconception, delusion, misapprehension, but only' about formal logic, causality and phylosophy, also /informal) logic.
  • Fallacy without logic like "it is a fallacy to say the moon is made of cheese" or "logical fallacy also means fallacy" is lied or nonsense by todays standarts, therefore "fallacy" is the historical word for "logical fallacies".
  • Fallacy has no word about fallacies that are not logical, old concepts like above, as opposed to logical fallacies by the meaning of logic. (but it should have them as historical reference.)
  • There is no category:fallacies, category:logical_fallacies and its subcategories are either inaccurate or there is not much to differenciate anyways.
  • Therefore both articles are about exactly the same, therefore merge.
  • Merge into 'Fallacy', even though 'logical fallacy' is more 'logical' and not only by the category:logical fallacies namespace and many double redirects, just because "fallacy" is a shorter and more general namespace.

--Ollj 20:23, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Logical fallacy is definitely separate from other fallacies and that is mentioned several times on the fallacy page. On the fallacy page it might be possible to reduce the examples of individual logical fallacies, in favor of linking to this page. The merge was a little hasty. Allow some time for discussion and then we can find out the best way to put these two pages together. !@#Rtrev 20:50, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
yes, Fallacy#general examples is not only logical fallacy, i refined my arguments. But there is nothing in Fallacy that is not in 'Logical fallacy' and logical fallacy is a short article.
ad absurdum Note: Discussion to merge started in Talk:Fallacy 23:14, 22 May 2005 with 2 "for merge" and continued 17 monts later with +1 "for merge" and +1 for "not so hastly, allow more time for discussion". You got to be kidding me! --Ollj 21:24, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
  • You did not get consensus. I think you need to cool down. Hu 22:32, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, my claim of haste was not temporal but more for consensus purposes. There have definitely been proposals for mergers but proposals do not consensus make. So here is what I propose as a compromise. Keep this section dedicated to purely logical fallacies. Move any content to the fallacy page that does not belong here. Then edit the fallacy page to mention logical fallacies and a couple common examples with a link to this page for the more curious. How do people feel about that? Rtrev 00:11, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Rtrev's idea of keeping this purely logical fallacies, then trimming the section in fallacy. There is a difference, and although not a user, this is a page I've used quite commonly, where fallacy doesn't add anything for the uses of one who is searching just for fallacies of logic. 68.190.124.240 15:36, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Hey! Everyone's a user on the wikipedia 68.190.124.240. You just aren't a registered user. Rtrev 19:37, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
  • fallacy and logical fallacy still fail to differenciate and seperate between each other in more than in historical developement and classification (aristotelian), mostly because the definition for 'logical fallacy' is too general and unspecific. If the only difference is historical Logical_Fallacy#history would include 'fallacy' in a merge as suggested (but using the 'fallacy' namespace). It would be easy if a more specific 'logical fallacy' would simply be a subsection of 'fallacy' (as it is in the fallacy article), if logical fallacies would simply mean all formal fallacies, but not informal fallacies and not all other kinds (see subcategories). Then a merge would be irelevant and both could be seperated easily by (sub)category. But 'logical fallacy' malso means informal and verbal fallacies just like 'fallacy', it fails to differ. And nothing in fallacy is NOT about "logic" to differenciate between the article titles, verbal and formal fallacies (not logic fallacies) also include logic and are in a 'logical fallacies category'.
  • logical fallacy needs separation improvement, a more specific definition separating it from general 'fallacy' and it needs to be more than a partial copy of the fallacy article content matter and an accurate separate "fallacies category" (note formal fallacies) to seperate categories accurately, or just a merge because its just the same. --Ollj 22:59, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Is there a way to have a page auto-redirect to an anchor on another page? For example if you just typed in 'logical fallacy' in the WikiBox over there, and we could have it redirect to a section of 'Fallacy' attributed to logical fallacies? I personally think that would be an improvement since the logical fallacy page is very stub-like. It gives plenty of examples and related articles, but the description is very short. I vote Merge. :D

Kalatix 02:59, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Restructure with examples?[edit]

It would be a good idea to have an example of each fallacy on the page. Perhaps it could be done as a table.

At the moment it is just a list and the reader does not know what all these terms mean, and there are too many to jump to. Most fallacies I think can be summarised by a short example. m.e. 03:48, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Fallacy navigational templates[edit]

I have created some navigational templates for the fallacy articles. Please view and comment on them at the WikiProject Philosophy talk page. Thanks Andeggs 16:16, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

"tu quo que" missing[edit]

The "tu quo que" argument is missing from the list of logical fallacies. Can we get some discussion going on exactly how to define it here and what an article on it should contain? Frotz661 20:22, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

It's usually regarded as a subtype of Ad hominem, and is covered in that article. It has its own article as well. If you're having trouble finding it, try spelling it correctly; it's two words, not three. PurplePlatypus 19:38, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Unable to classify this fallacy[edit]

I'm having trouble classifying the following fallacy. Often one will challenge another to falsify an inadequately defined claim. There is deception however, in that the claim is not well defined, and this fact is intentionally is obscured.

As an example: It could be claimed that it cannot be proved that leprechauns do not exist. But this is only true to the extent that what is meant by the word leprechaun remains undefined. Once specific claims are made, such as "leprechauns are evidenced by pots of gold at the end of a rainbow," these claims can be shown to be true or false (false in this case). The supporter could attempt to argue that the pots of gold are 'invisible' or 'in-another-dimension' but this merely repeats the same fallacy by again invoking undefined terms, i.e. 'invisible' and 'in-another-dimension'.

This appears to me to be close to Ad hoc, but I believe in the case of Ad hoc, the claim is well defined, it is just modified in light of new evidence. Here the one making the claim is relying on the listener to mistakenly think that the claim is well defined, perhaps because the terms or concepts are commonly used.

RDU 03:51, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Undue weight redirect?[edit]

Just a quick thought here: the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undue_weight redirects to this page but there seems to be no info on it here. it seems to me an important term/logical fallacy in journalism and politics. hoping to get more info on it. do people agree this would be a good term to add under logical fallacies?. Beakermeep 11:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Putting words into someone's mouth: a logical fallacy?[edit]

In internet forums arguments, I often see the following occur:

Two people are arguing over something they have opposing views over. One of the people states "I feel so and so. You'll say that this is wrong because X. That's nonsense, because X is not true for the following reasons. Therefore, you're a moron."

The point being that that person dictates what the other person is saying (making an assumption), and then immediately proceeds to debunk that statement. The debunking would prove that the other person is wrong, were it not that he/she may never have even said that. In the discussion, this immediately makes the first person 'lose a point' while he/she has not even had a chance to defend him/herself and may never have actually made that claim to begin with.

Say for instance that person A is a proponent of Windows, while person B is a proponent of MacOS. Person B may say "MacOS is a great operating system. You'll say that it sucks because 'there are no games' for Macs, but this isn't the case. Here is a list of mainstream games that run on MacOS: you obviously don't know what you're talking about."

Now, person B has branded person A an ignorant, but it might have been that person A wasn't even going to bring up the 'no games for macs' argument. However, since the debunking of A's fictional claim occured immediately, before A even had a chance to say that he wasn't going to mention games at all, B has 'scored a point' by false means.

Is this a logical fallacy, and if so, what is it called. If not, why not, and what is it? 82.95.254.30 12:42, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

—— I think you are describing a straw man argument http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man Beakermeep 06:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Pathetic fallacy[edit]

Is it a logical fallacy?-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  02:03, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with renaming this article to "Formal Fallacy"[edit]

I have to say I find it a bit sad that this article was renamed. I feel that the title "Logical Fallacy" is more accurate as to exactly what types of errors in logic and arguments these fallacies are. "Formal" almost implies that because an argument doesn’t take a proper form it is incorrect.

Also, I believe that the term logical fallacy is more common than formal fallacy. admittedly this is a terrible citation but searching for "logical fallacy" produces 371,000 hits in google while "formal fallacy" produces a mere 956 hits.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&c2coff=1&q=%22formal+fallacy%22&btnG=Search

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&c2coff=1&q=%22logical+fallacy%22&btnG=Search

I propose that this page be renamed to its previous name and have formal fallacy redirect here. Beakermeep 06:43, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I think you may be a lone voice, but to gain maximum possible support I think you would be best off posting here. Grumpyyoungman01 13:38, 26 April 2007 (UTC)