A fallacy is reasoning that is logically invalid, or that undermines the logical validity of an argument. All forms of human communication can contain fallacies.

Because of their variety, fallacies are challenging to classify. They can be classified by their structure (formal fallacies) or content (informal fallacies). Informal fallacies, the larger group, may then be subdivided into categories such as improper presumption, faulty generalization, and error in assigning causation and relevance, among others.

The use of fallacies is common when the speaker's goal of achieving common agreement is more important to them than utilizing sound reasoning. When fallacies are used, the premise should be recognized as not well-grounded, the conclusion as unproven (but not necessarily false), and the argument as unsound.[1]

Formal fallacies

Main article: Formal fallacy

A formal fallacy is an error in the argument's form.[2] All formal fallacies are types of non sequitur.

Propositional fallacies

A propositional fallacy is an error that concerns compound propositions. For a compound proposition to be true, the truth values of its constituent parts must satisfy the relevant logical connectives that occur in it (most commonly: [and], [or], [not], [only if], [if and only if]). The following fallacies involve relations whose truth values are not guaranteed and therefore not guaranteed to yield true conclusions.
Types of propositional fallacies:

Quantification fallacies

A quantification fallacy is an error in logic where the quantifiers of the premises are in contradiction to the quantifier of the conclusion.
Types of quantification fallacies:

Formal syllogistic fallacies

Syllogistic fallacies – logical fallacies that occur in syllogisms.

Informal fallacies

Main article: Informal fallacy

Informal fallacies – arguments that are logically unsound for lack of well-grounded premises.[14]

Improper premise

Faulty generalizations

Faulty generalization – reaching a conclusion from weak premises.

Questionable cause

Questionable cause is a general type of error with many variants. Its primary basis is the confusion of association with causation, either by inappropriately deducing (or rejecting) causation or a broader failure to properly investigate the cause of an observed effect.

Relevance fallacies

Red herring fallacies

A red herring fallacy, one of the main subtypes of fallacies of relevance, is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false inferences. This includes any logical inference based on fake arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments or to replace implicitly the subject of the discussion.[69][70]

Red herring – introducing a second argument in response to the first argument that is irrelevant and draws attention away from the original topic (e.g.: saying “If you want to complain about the dishes I leave in the sink, what about the dirty clothes you leave in the bathroom?”).[71] In jury trial, it is known as a Chewbacca defense. In political strategy, it is called a dead cat strategy. See also irrelevant conclusion.

See also

References

Citations

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Sources

Further reading

The following is a sample of books for further reading, selected for a combination of content, ease of access via the internet, and to provide an indication of published sources that interested readers may review. The titles of some books are self-explanatory. Good books on critical thinking commonly contain sections on fallacies, and some may be listed below.