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Dr. Jay
College of Arts, Humanities
and Social Sciences
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Argumentation and Critical Thinking Tutorial


Quick Review

This page reviews the definitions of five fallacies. A common English name for each fallacy is used, with alternative names in parentheses. This page does not describe the fallacies in detail, so you should be sure to read some material on these fallacies before you take the tests.

These fallacies have been grouped together because they can all be considered to be based on the responsibilities advocates have when they make arguments. Keep in mind that they could also be grouped in other ways, as could the fallacies in other sections of this site.

APPEAL TO IGNORANCE ( ad ignorantium , burden of proof, shifting burden of proof, evading burden of proof): arguing that a claim must be true because there is no evidence that it is false.

A PRIORI : reasoning that determines the conclusion one wants first, then accepts only evidence supporting that conclusion, or interprets all evidence as support for that conclusion.

COMPLEX PROPOSITION (compound proposition): including more than one claim in the proposition and treating proof for one claim as proof for all the claims.

COMPLEX QUESTION (many questions, fallacy of interrogation, compound question, plurium interrogationum ): asking a question that includes either an unproven assumption or more than one question, thus making a straightforward yes or no answer meaningless.

EXTENSION : a particular type of false criteria fallacy that argues something is inferior just because it doesn't do something it was never intended to do.

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