Quick Write

Fallacy Definition

  • a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.
  • a failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid.
  • faulty reasoning; misleading or unsound argument.

We will be talking about fallacies today. These are general definitions of a fallacy.

  1. In your own words, what is a fallacy?
  2. What fallacies have you heard of?

Revision: American Idol

Offer three separate critiques of points or paragraphs.

  1. Critical. Be direct or decisive on what was good or bad in the evaluation.
  2. Generous. Be generous and/or emotional in your reading and comments.
  3. Constructive. Offer evenhanded constructive feedback.

Peer Review

  • Critical Thinking
  • Clarity of Thought
  • Analysis and Thesis
  • Use of sources and works cited
  • Images and Title

Intro to Fallacies

Your textbook has a good list of fallacies beginning on page 363. This is a good place to start researching for your fallacy project. More details will be provided on Monday.

Great introductory video to fallacies.

One important point to keep in mind is that we are always using logic to justify what we believe. The problem comes when we begin with assumptions instead of questioning our position.

Fallacies are connected to the different appeals: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.


  • Ethos is appeals to credibility or character
  • Logos is appeals to logic and reason
  • Pathos is appeals to feelings or emotions.

Appealing to ethos or pathos is not in itself a fallacy, only appealing to them or using them unethically is. Here is an example of a fallacy used to persuade.

Why do we say this is a fallacy?

Key Terms

  • Argument: A conclusion together with the premises that support it.
  • Premise: A reason offered as support for another claim.
  • Conclusion: A claim that is supported by a premise.
  • Valid: An argument whose premises genuinely support its conclusion.
  • Unsound: An argument that has at least one false premise.
  • Fallacy: An argument that relies upon faulty reasoning.
  • Booby-trap: An argument that, while not a fallacy itself, might lead an inattentive reader to commit a fallacy.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Fallacies

This is a great resource for further reading on fallacies and how they are not so simple. The article lists 223 of the most common fallacies.

I do not expect you to know them all or to never use any. Fallacies are controversial. We appreciate logic and honesty in Western rhetorical thinking and that is at odds with many fallacies.

Fallacies are not necessarily wrong, they work very well and are very good at persuading people. Fallacies are considered unethical and so we try to avoid them. They are thought of as flaws in thought, tricks, and sneaky uses of persuasion to convince others.

Fallacy Project

In small groups come up with an appropriate project for this class that helps you and us learn about fallacies.

  • Define the project.
  • Give the requirements.
  • Explain the steps.