= List of fallacies =
A fallacy is incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric resulting in a
lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness. Fallacies
are either formal fallacies or informal fallacies.
A formal fallacy is an error in logic that can be seen in the
argument's form. All formal fallacies are specific types of non
* Appeal to probability - takes something for granted because it
would probably be the case (or might be the case).
* Argument from fallacy - assumes that if an argument for some
conclusion is fallacious, then the conclusion 'itself' is false.
* Base rate fallacy - making a probability judgement based on
conditional probabilities, without taking into account the effect of
* Conjunction fallacy - assumption that an outcome simultaneously
satisfying multiple conditions is more probable than an outcome
satisfying a single one of them.
* Masked man fallacy (illicit substitution of identicals) - the
substitution of identical designators in a true statement can lead to
a false one.
A propositional fallacy is an error in logic that concerns compound
propositions. For a compound proposition to be true, the truth values
of its constituent parts must satisfy the relevant logical connectives
which occur in it (most commonly: , , , , ). The following fallacies
involve inferences whose correctness is not guaranteed by the behavior
of those logical connectives, and hence, which are not logically
guaranteed to yield true conclusions.
Types of Propositional fallacies:
* Affirming a disjunct - concluded that one disjunct of a logical
disjunction must be false because the other disjunct is true; 'A or B;
A; therefore not B'.
* Affirming the consequent - the antecedent in an indicative
conditional is claimed to be true because the consequent is true; 'if
A, then B; B, therefore A'.
* Denying the antecedent - the consequent in an indicative
conditional is claimed to be false because the antecedent is false;
'if A, then B; not A, therefore not B'.
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:
* Existential fallacy - an argument has a universal premise and a
Formal syllogistic fallacies
Syllogistic fallacies - logical fallacies that occur in syllogisms.
* Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise (illicit negative) -
when a categorical syllogism has a positive conclusion, but at least
one negative premise.
* Fallacy of exclusive premises - a categorical syllogism that is
invalid because both of its premises are negative.
* Fallacy of four terms ('quaternio terminorum') - a categorical
syllogism that has four terms.
* Illicit major - a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its
major term is not distributed in the major premise but distributed in
* Illicit minor - a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its
minor term is not distributed in the minor premise but distributed in
* Negative conclusion from affirmative premises (illicit affirmative)
- when a categorical syllogism has a negative conclusion but
* Fallacy of the undistributed middle - the middle term in a
categorical syllogism is not distributed.
Informal fallacies - arguments that are fallacious for reasons other
than structural (formal) flaws and which usually require examination
of the argument's content.
* Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance, 'argumentum ad
ignorantiam') - assuming that a claim is true (or false) because it
has not been proven false (true) or cannot be proven false (true).
* Argument from (personal) incredulity (divine fallacy, appeal to
common sense) - I cannot imagine how this could be true, therefore it
must be false.
* Argument from repetition ('argumentum ad nauseam') - signifies that
it has been discussed extensively until nobody cares to discuss it
* Argument from silence ('argumentum e silentio') - where the
conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the
existence of evidence.
* Argumentum verbosium - See Proof by verbosity, below.
* Begging the question ('petitio principii') - providing what is
essentially the conclusion of the argument as a premise.
* (shifting the) Burden of proof (see - 'onus probandi') - I need
not prove my claim, you must prove it is false.
* Circular reasoning - when the reasoner begins with what he or she is
trying to end up with; sometimes called 'assuming the conclusion'.
* Circular cause and consequence - where the consequence of the
phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.
* Continuum fallacy (fallacy of the beard, line-drawing fallacy,
sorites fallacy, fallacy of the heap, bald man fallacy) - improperly
rejecting a claim for being imprecise.
* Correlative-based fallacies
** Correlation proves causation ('cum hoc ergo propter hoc') - a
faulty assumption that correlation between two variables implies that
one causes the other.
** Suppressed correlative - where a correlative is redefined so that
one alternative is made impossible.
* Equivocation - the misleading use of a term with more than one
meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular
** Ambiguous middle term - a common ambiguity in syllogisms in which
the middle term is equivocated.
* Ecological fallacy - inferences about the nature of specific
individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for
the group to which those individuals belong.
* Etymological fallacy - which reasons that the original or
historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its
actual present-day meaning.
* Fallacy of composition - assuming that something true of part of a
whole must also be true of the whole.
* Fallacy of division - assuming that something true of a thing must
also be true of all or some of its parts.
* False dilemma (false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation,
black-or-white fallacy) - two alternative statements are held to be
the only possible options, when in reality there are more.
* If-by-whiskey - an argument that supports both sides of an issue by
using terms that are selectively emotionally sensitive.
* Fallacy of many questions (complex question, fallacy of
presupposition, loaded question, 'plurium interrogationum') - someone
asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or
accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used
rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that
serve the questioner's agenda.
* Ludic fallacy - the belief that the outcomes of non-regulated
random occurrences can be encapsulated by a statistic; a failure to
take into account unknown unknowns in determining the probability of
events taking place.
* Fallacy of the single cause (causal oversimplification) - it is
assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality
it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
* False attribution - an advocate appeals to an irrelevant,
unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of
** Fallacy of quoting out of context (contextomy) - refers to the
selective excerpting of words from their original context in a way
that distorts the source's intended meaning.
* False Authority (single authority) - using an expert of dubious
credentials and/or using only one opinion to sell a product or idea
* Argument to moderation (false compromise, middle ground, fallacy of
the mean) - assuming that the compromise between two positions is
* Gambler's fallacy - the incorrect belief that separate, independent
events can affect the likelihood of another random event. If a coin
flip lands on heads 10 times in a row, the belief that it is "due to
land on tails" is incorrect.
* Hedging - using words with ambiguous meanings, then changing the
meaning of them later
* Historian's fallacy - occurs when one assumes that decision makers
of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the
same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision. (Not to
be confused with presentism, which is a mode of historical analysis in
which present-day ideas, such as moral standards, are projected into
* Homunculus fallacy - where a "middle-man" is used for explanation,
this sometimes leads to regressive middle-men. Explains without
actually explaining the real nature of a function or a process.
Instead, it explains the concept in terms of the concept itself,
without first defining or explaining the original concept. Explaining
thought as something produced by a little thinker, a sort of
homunculus inside the head, merely explains it as another kind of
thinking (as different but the same).
* Inflation Of Conflict - The experts of a field of knowledge disagree
on a certain point, so the scholars must know nothing, and therefore
the legitimacy of their entire field is put to question.
* Incomplete comparison - in which insufficient information is
provided to make a complete comparison.
* Inconsistent comparison - where different methods of comparison are
used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison.
* 'Ignoratio elenchi' (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point) - an
argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue
* Kettle logic - using multiple inconsistent arguments to defend a
* Mind projection fallacy - when one considers the way one sees the
world as the way the world really is.
* Moral high ground fallacy - in which a person assumes a
"holier-than-thou" attitude in an attempt to make himself look good to
win an argument.
* Moralistic fallacy - inferring factual conclusions from purely
evaluative premises in violation of fact-value distinction. For
instance, inferring 'is' from 'ought' is an instance of moralistic
fallacy. Moralistic fallacy is the inverse of naturalistic fallacy
* Moving the goalposts (raising the bar) - argument in which evidence
presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other
(often greater) evidence is demanded.
* Naturalistic fallacy - inferring evaluative conclusions from purely
factual premises in violation of fact-value distinction. For instance,
inferring 'ought' from 'is' (sometimes referred to as the 'is-ought
fallacy') is an instance of naturalistic fallacy. Also naturalistic
fallacy in a stricter sense as defined in the section "Conditional or
questionable fallacies" below is an instance of naturalistic fallacy.
Naturalistic fallacy is the inverse of moralistic fallacy.
* Naturalistic fallacy, also known as the anti-naturalistic fallacy -
inferring impossibility to infer any instance of 'ought' from 'is'
from the general invalidity of 'is-ought fallacy' mentioned above. For
instance, 'is' P \lor \neg P does imply 'ought' P \lor \neg P for any
proposition P, although the naturalistic fallacy fallacy would falsely
declare such an inference invalid. Naturalistic fallacy fallacy is an
instance of argument from fallacy.
* Nirvana fallacy (perfect solution fallacy) - when solutions to
problems are rejected because they are not perfect.
* 'Onus probandi' - from Latin "onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit,
non ei qui negat" the burden of proof is on the person who makes the
claim, not on the person who denies (or questions the claim). It is a
particular case of the "argumentum ad ignorantiam" fallacy, here the
burden is shifted on the person defending against the assertion.
* 'Petitio principii' - see begging the question.
* 'Post hoc ergo propter hoc' Latin for "after this, therefore because
of this" (faulty cause/effect, coincidental correlation, correlation
without causation) - X happened then Y happened; therefore X caused
Y. The Loch Ness Monster has been seen in this loch. Something tipped
our boat over; it's obviously the Loch Ness Monster
* Proof by verbosity ('argumentum verbosium', proof by intimidation) -
submission of others to an argument too complex and verbose to
reasonably deal with in all its intimate details. (See also Gish
Gallop and argument from authority.)
* Prosecutor's fallacy - a low probability of false matches does not
mean a low probability of 'some' false match being found.
* Psychologist's fallacy - an observer presupposes the objectivity of
his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event.
* Red herring - a speaker attempts to distract an audience by
deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument
which the speaker believes will be easier to speak to.
* Referential fallacy
* Regression fallacy - ascribes cause where none exists. The flaw is
failing to account for natural fluctuations. It is frequently a
special kind of the 'post hoc' fallacy.
* Reification (hypostatization) - a fallacy of ambiguity, when an
abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as
if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words,
it is the error of treating as a "real thing" something which is not a
real thing, but merely an idea.
* Retrospective determinism - the argument that because some event
has occurred, its occurrence must have been inevitable beforehand.
* Shotgun argumentation - the arguer offers such a large number of
arguments for their position that the opponent can't possibly respond
to all of them. (See "Argument by verbosity" and "Gish Gallop",
* Special pleading - where a proponent of a position attempts to cite
something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle
without justifying the exemption.
* Wrong direction - cause and effect are reversed. The cause is said
to be the effect and vice versa.
* Personal Attacks ("Argumentum ad Hominem")- the evasion of the
actual topic by directing the attack at your opponent
Faulty generalizations - reach a conclusion from weak premises. Unlike
fallacies of relevance, in fallacies of defective induction, the
premises are related to the conclusions yet only weakly buttress the
conclusions. A faulty generalization is thus produced.
* Accident - an exception to a generalization is ignored.
** No true Scotsman - when a generalization is made true only when a
counterexample is ruled out on shaky grounds.
* Cherry picking (suppressed evidence, incomplete evidence) - act of
pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular
position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or
data that may contradict that position.
* False analogy - an argument by analogy in which the analogy is
* Hasty generalization (fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of
insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, leaping to a
conclusion, hasty induction, 'secundum quid', converse accident) -
basing a broad conclusion on a small sample.
* Misleading vividness - involves describing an occurrence in vivid
detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone
that it is a problem.
* Overwhelming exception - an accurate generalization that comes with
qualifications which eliminate so many cases that what remains is much
less impressive than the initial statement might have led one to
* Pathetic fallacy - when an inanimate object is declared to have
characteristics of animate objects.
* Thought-terminating cliché - a commonly used phrase, sometimes
passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance, conceal
lack of thought-entertainment, move onto other topics etc. but in any
case, end the debate with a cliche—not a point.
* Inductive fallacy - A more general name to some fallacies, such as
hasty generalization. It happens when a conclusion is made of premises
which lightly supports it.
Red herring fallacies
A red herring fallacy is an error in logic where a proposition is, or
is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false
inferences. In the general case any logical inference based on fake
arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments or to
replace implicitly the subject of the discussion.
Red herring - argument given in response to another argument, which is
irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument. 'See
also irrelevant conclusion.'
* 'Ad hominem' - attacking the arguer instead of the argument.
** Poisoning the well - a type of 'ad hominem' where adverse
information about a target is presented with the intention of
discrediting everything that the target person says
** Abusive fallacy - a subtype of "ad hominem" when it turns into
name-calling rather than arguing about the originally proposed
* 'Argumentum ad baculum' (appeal to the stick, appeal to force,
appeal to threat) - an argument made through coercion or threats of
force to support position
* 'Argumentum ad populum' (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon
argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) - where a
proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people
believe it to be so
* Appeal to equality - where an assertion is deemed true or false
based on an assumed pretense of equality.
* Association fallacy (guilt by association) - arguing that because
two things share a property they are the same
* Appeal to authority - where an assertion is deemed true because of
the position or authority of the person asserting it.
** Appeal to accomplishment - where an assertion is deemed true or
false based on the accomplishments of the proposer.
* Appeal to consequences ('argumentum ad consequentiam') - the
conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative
consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from
the initial discussion
* Appeal to emotion - where an argument is made due to the
manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.
** Appeal to fear - a specific type of appeal to emotion where an
argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing
** Appeal to flattery - a specific type of appeal to emotion where an
argument is made due to the use of flattery to gather support.
** Appeal to pity ('argumentum ad misericordiam') - an argument
attempts to induce pity to sway opponents
** Appeal to ridicule - an argument is made by presenting the
opponent's argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous
** Appeal to spite - a specific type of appeal to emotion where an
argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite
towards an opposing party
** Wishful thinking - a specific type of appeal to emotion where a
decision is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine,
rather than according to evidence or reason.
* Appeal to motive - where a premise is dismissed by calling into
question the motives of its proposer
* Appeal to novelty ('argumentum ad novitam/antiquitam') - where a
proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new
* Appeal to poverty ('argumentum ad Lazarum') - supporting a
conclusion because the arguer is poor (or refuting because the arguer
is wealthy). (Opposite of appeal to wealth.)
* Appeal to tradition ('argumentum ad antiquitam') - a conclusion
supported solely because it has long been held to be true.
* Appeal to nature - wherein judgement is based solely on whether the
subject of judgement is 'natural' or 'unnatural'. For example
(hypothetical): "Cannabis is healthy because it is natural"
* Appeal to wealth ('argumentum ad crumenam') - supporting a
conclusion because the arguer is wealthy (or refuting because the
arguer is poor). (Sometimes taken together with the appeal to poverty
as a general appeal to the arguer's financial situation.)
* Argument from silence ('argumentum ex silentio') - a conclusion
based on silence or lack of contrary evidence
* Bulverism (Psychogenetic Fallacy) - inferring why an argument is
being used, associating it to some psychological reason, then assuming
it is invalid as a result. It is wrong to assume that if the origin of
an idea comes from a biased mind, then the idea itself must also be a
* Chronological snobbery - where a thesis is deemed incorrect because
it was commonly held when something else, clearly false, was also
* Fallacy of relative privation - dismissing an argument due to the
existence of more important, but unrelated, problems in the world
* Genetic fallacy - where a conclusion is suggested based solely on
something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or
* Judgmental language - insulting or pejorative language to influence
the recipient's judgment
* Naturalistic fallacy (is-ought fallacy, naturalistic fallacy) -
claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what
* 'Reductio ad Hitlerum' (playing the Nazi card) - comparing an
opponent or their argument to Hitler or Nazism in an attempt to
associate a position with one that is universally reviled (See also -
* Straw man - an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's
* Texas sharpshooter fallacy - improperly asserting a cause to
explain a cluster of data
* 'Tu quoque' ("you too", appeal to hypocrisy, I'm rubber and you're
glue) - the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong
and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act
consistently in accordance with that position
* Two wrongs make a right - occurs when it is assumed that if one
wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out.
Conditional or questionable fallacies
* Broken window fallacy - an argument which disregards lost
opportunity costs (typically non-obvious, difficult to determine or
otherwise hidden) associated with destroying property of others, or
other ways of externalizing costs onto others. For example, an
argument that states breaking a window generates income for a window
fitter, but disregards the fact that the money spent on the new window
cannot now be spent on new shoes.
* Definist fallacy - involves the confusion between two notions by
defining one in terms of the other.
* Naturalistic fallacy - attempts to prove a claim about ethics by
appealing to a definition of the term "good" in terms of either one or
more claims about natural properties (sometimes also taken to mean the
appeal to nature) or God's will.
* Slippery slope (thin edge of the wedge, camel's nose) - asserting
that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of
related events culminating in some significant impact/event that
should not happen, thus the first step should not happen. While this
fallacy is a popular one, it is, in its essence, an appeal to
probability fallacy. (e.g if person x does y then z would (probably)
occur, leading to q, leading to w, leading to e.) This is also related
to the Reductio ad absurdum.
*List of common misconceptions
*List of cognitive biases
*List of memory biases
*List of topics related to public relations and propaganda
*'Sophistical Refutations', in which Aristotle presented thirteen
*'Straight and Crooked Thinking' (book)
*List of paradoxes
*Reductio ad absurdum