Here's a list of ten common logical fallacies. Should you find any as you prepare your text, revise them by correcting your reasoning, recasting your point, locating more reputable evidence, and/or shoring up your explanations.
- Confirmation Bias (Cherry-Picking, Biased Interpretation): Seeks or notices only the information or evidence that validates already-held beliefs; dismisses or suppresses evidence that violates beliefs; interprets evidence or information to conform to beliefs
- False Dichotomy (Either/Or): Presents a complex issue or problem as having only two sides or solutions although other sides, positions, and solutions exist
- Hasty Generalization: Basing a position or assertion on insufficient or irrelevant evidence
- Hypocrisy (tu quoque or "you also"): Alleges that another's position is flawed because his or her behavior is inconsistent with the claims that position makes
- Personal Attack (ad hominum): Berates the opposition by calling names or insulting character instead of focusing on the opposition's argument or position
- Post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore, because of this): Asserts that one event caused another simply because one followed the other
- Popular Opinion (Communal Reinforcement): Assumes that something must be true, correct, or right because many people believe it to be
- Slippery Slope: Presents a first undesired action or condition as inevitably leading to a final and greater undesired action or condition as a way of arguing against the acceptance of the first one
- Sweeping Generalization: Making a claim that is insupportably broad and does not allow for exceptions
- Tradition: Maintains that a condition, definition, or action must be true or right because it has "always" been believed to be true or right
Logical fallacies divert attention, fail to engage issues, and provide untenable reasons and/or evidence, losing the legitimately persuasive force their authors were likely trying to exert. But sometimes authors deliberately employ logical fallacies for deceptive purposes. Stay aware, then, as a writer and a presenter but also as an audience member. Remain alert for any weak links in a chain of reasoning, for it is at that link that reason ends.