Short List of Fallacies

Avoiding the Question

Red Herring: Where someone introduces an irrelevant point into an
argument. He may think (or he may want us to think) it proves his side, but it really doesn’t.

Ad Hominem: Where someone attacks an opponent’s character, or his motives for believing something, instead of disproving his opponent’s argument.

Genetic Fallacy: Where someone condemns an argument because of where it began, how it began, or who began it.

Tu Quoque (You Too): Where someone dismisses your viewpoint on an issue because you are yourself inconsistent in that very thing.

Faulty Appeal to Authority: Where someone appeals to the authority of someone who has no special knowledge in the area they are discussing.

Appeal to the People: Where someone claims his viewpoint is correct just because many other people agree with it.

Making Assumptions

Circular Reasoning: Where someone attempts to prove his conclusion
by simply restating it. He says “P is true because Q is true, and Q is true because P is true.”

Equivocation: Where the meaning of a word is changed in the middle of an argument.

Loaded Question: Where someone asks one question which assumes the
answer to a second question.

Part-to-Whole: Where someone asserts that what is true of part of something must also be true of the whole thing together.

Whole-to-Part: Where someone asserts that what is true of something as a whole must also be true of each of its parts. Th is is the reverse of the part-to whole fallacy.

Either-Or: Where someone asserts that we must chose between two things, when in fact we have more alternatives.

Statistical Fallacies

Hasty Generalization: Where someone generalizes about a class or group based upon a small and poor sample.

Weak Analogy: Where someone claims that some items which have only a few minor similarities are practically the same in almost everything else.

Post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc: Where someone assumes that since A happened before B, A must have caused B.

Proof-by-lack-of-evidence: Where someone claims something is true
simply because nobody has yet given them any evidence to the contrary.


Appeal to Fear: Where someone moves you to fear the consequences of not doing what he wants.

Appeal to Pity: Where someone urges us to do something only because we pity him, or we pity something associated with him.

Bandwagon: Where someone pressures us to do something just because many other people like us are doing it.

Exigency: Where someone offers nothing more than a time limit as a reason for us to do what he wants.

Repetition: Where a message is repeated loudly and very often in the
hope that it will eventually be believed.

Transfer: Where an advertiser gets us to associate our good or bad feelings about one thing, to another unrelated thing.

Advertisement: “Why read those boring logic books like everybody else does? You know you’re better than that. You need more intellectual
stimulation. Read The Fallacy Detective. Be more logical than the rest.”

Appeal to Tradition: Where we are encouraged to buy a product or do
something because it is associated with something old.

Appeal to Hi-tech: Where someone urges us to buy something because it is the “latest thing” – but not necessarily because it is the best thing.

Learning to Think Logically
by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn