5.8: Common fallacies in informal arguments
In a nutshell
The following presents what you essentially need to know about this topic.
In a nutshell - Text version
- Whereas a formal argument relies for validity on the formal relations between its elements (premises and conclusion), some informal arguments use the persuasive power of natural language to make their case.
- However, such arguments often contain reasoning which is faulty – even if the language used sounds very convincing. These are known as fallacious arguments.
- Some examples of these are: sweeping generalization; false cause; false or weak analogy; against the person; popular appeal; appeal to authority; slippery slope; straw man; begging the question; false dichotomy; equivocation.
- You can avoid fallacies in your own arguments by making sure your premises are true; your assumptions are explicit; you argument is logically valid; your evidence is adequate; your examples and evidence are relevant; your words are not ambiguous.
- If you want more information about this topic, refer to ‘The complete’ version below.
The complete version
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