12 Oct 2020 đź‘“

Logical Fallacies

I often need to refer to these for various purposes and it's tiresome to google/wiki for them each time. This page serves as a reference.

Fallacy of Composition

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The fallacy of composition arises when one infers
that something is true of the whole from the fact
that it is true of some part of the whole. A
trivial example might be: "This tire is made of
rubber, therefore the vehicle of which it is a
part is also made of rubber." This is fallacious,
because vehicles are made with a variety of parts,
most of which are not made of rubber. The fallacy
of composition can apply even when a fact is true
of every proper part of a greater entity, though.
A more complicated example might be: "No atoms are
alive. Therefore, nothing made of atoms is alive."
This is a statement most people would consider
incorrect, due to emergence, where the whole
possesses properties not present in any of the
parts. This fallacy is related to the fallacy of
hasty generalization, in which an unwarranted
inference is made from a statement about a sample
to a statement about the population from which it
is drawn.

Fallacy of Division

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A fallacy of division is the error in logic that
occurs when one reasons that something that is
true for a whole must also be true of all or some
of its parts. An example: 1. The second grade in
Jefferson elementary eats a lot of ice cream 2.
Carlos is a second-grader in Jefferson elementary
3. Therefore, Carlos eats a lot of ice cream. The
converse of this fallacy is called fallacy of
composition, which arises when one fallaciously
attributes a property of some part of a thing to
the thing as a whole. If a system as a whole has
some property that none of its constituents has,
this is sometimes called an emergent property of
the system. The term mereological fallacy refers
to approximately the same incorrect inference that
properties of a whole are also properties of its
parts.

Gambler's Fallacy

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The gambler's fallacy, also known as the Monte
Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of
chances, is the erroneous belief that if a
particular event occurs more frequently than
normal during the past it is less likely to happen
in the future, when it has otherwise been
established that the probability of such events
does not depend on what has happened in the past.
Such events, having the quality of historical
independence, are referred to as statistically
independent. The fallacy is commonly associated
with gambling, where it may be believed, for
example, that the next dice roll is more than
usually likely to be six because there have
recently been less than the usual number of sixes.
The term "Monte Carlo fallacy" originates from the
best known example of the phenomenon, which
occurred in the Monte Carlo Casino in 1913.

Tu quoque

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TĹ« quoque, or the appeal to hypocrisy, is an
informal fallacy that intends to discredit the
opponent's argument by asserting the opponent's
failure to act consistently in accordance with its
conclusion. The Oxford English Dictionary cites
John Cooke's 1614 stage play The Cittie Gallant as
the earliest use of the term in the English
language.

Strawman fallacy

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A straw man is a form of argument and an informal
fallacy of having the impression of refuting an
argument, meanwhile the proper idea of argument
under discussion was not addressed or properly
refuted. One who engages in this fallacy is said
to be "attacking a straw man". The typical straw
man argument creates the illusion of having
completely refuted or defeated an opponent's
proposition through the covert replacement of it
with a different proposition and the subsequent
refutation of that false argument instead of the
opponent's proposition. Straw man arguments have
been used throughout history in polemical debate,
particularly regarding highly charged emotional
subjects. Straw man tactics in the United Kingdom
may also be known as an Aunt Sally, after a pub
game of the same name, where patrons throw sticks
or battens at a post to knock off a skittle
balanced on top.

Ad hominem

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Ad hominem, short for argumentum ad hominem, is a
term that refers to several types of arguments,
most of which are fallacious. Typically this term
refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker
attacks the character, motive, or some other
attribute of the person making an argument rather
than attacking the substance of the argument
itself. This avoids genuine debate by creating a
diversion to some irrelevant but often highly
charged issue. The most common form of this
fallacy is "A makes a claim x, B asserts that A
holds a property that is unwelcome, and hence B
concludes that argument x is wrong". The valid
types of ad hominem arguments are generally only
encountered in specialized philosophical usage.
These typically refer to the dialectical strategy
of using the target's own beliefs and arguments
against them, while not agreeing with the validity
of those beliefs and arguments.

Genetic Fallacy

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The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance
that is based solely on someone's or something's
history, origin, or source rather than its current
meaning or context. This overlooks any difference
to be found in the present situation, typically
transferring the positive or negative esteem from
the earlier context. In other words, a claim is
ignored in favor of attacking or championing its
source. The fallacy therefore fails to assess the
claim on its merit. The first criterion of a good
argument is that the premises must have bearing on
the truth or falsity of the claim in question.
Genetic accounts of an issue may be true, and they
may help illuminate the reasons why the issue has
assumed its present form, but they are not
conclusive in determining its merits. According to
the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, the term
originated in Morris Raphael Cohen and Ernest
Nagel's book Logic and Scientific Method.

Argument from authority

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An argument from authority, also called an appeal
to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam, is a
form of argument in which the opinion of an
authority on a topic is used as evidence to
support an argument. Some consider that it is used
in a cogent form if all sides of a discussion
agree on the reliability of the authority in the
given context. Other authors however consider it
to always be a fallacy to cite an authority on the
discussed topic as the primary means of supporting
an argument. Historically, opinion on the appeal
to authority has been divided: it is listed as a
valid argument as often as a fallacious argument
in various sources, as some hold that it is a
strong or at least valid defeasible argument and
others that it is weak or an outright fallacy. If
all parties agree on the reliability of an
authority in the given context it forms a valid
inductive argument.

Red Herring fallacy

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A red herring is something that misleads or
distracts from a relevant or important question.
It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary
device that leads readers or audiences toward a
false conclusion. A red herring may be used
intentionally, as in mystery fiction or as part of
rhetorical strategies, or may be used in
argumentation inadvertently. The term was
popularized in 1807 by English polemicist William
Cobbett, who told a story of having used a strong-
smelling smoked fish to divert and distract hounds
from chasing a rabbit.

Appeal to Emotion

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Appeal to emotion or argumentum ad passiones is a
logical fallacy characterized by the manipulation
of the recipient's emotions in order to win an
argument, especially in the absence of factual
evidence. This kind of appeal to emotion is a type
of red herring and encompasses several logical
fallacies, including appeal to consequences,
appeal to fear, appeal to flattery, appeal to
pity, appeal to ridicule, appeal to spite, and
wishful thinking. Instead of facts, persuasive
language is used to develop the foundation of an
appeal to emotion-based argument. Thus, the
validity of the premises that establish such an
argument does not prove to be verifiable. Appeals
to emotion are intended to draw inward feelings
such as fear, pity, and joy from the recipient of
the information with the end goal of convincing
them that the statements being presented in the
fallacious argument are true or false, resp.

Bandwagon fallacy

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In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum
is a fallacious argument that concludes that a
proposition must be true because many or most
people believe it, often concisely encapsulated
as: "If many believe so, it is so". This type of
argument is known by several names, including
appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to
the majority, appeal to popularity, argument by
consensus, consensus fallacy, authority of the
many, bandwagon fallacy, vox populi, and in Latin
as argumentum ad numerum and consensus gentium.

Appeal to Tradition

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Appeal to tradition is an argument in which a
thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it is
correlated with some past or present tradition.
The appeal takes the form of "this is right
because we've always done it this way." An appeal
to tradition essentially makes two assumptions
that are not necessarily true: • The old way of
thinking was proven correct when introduced, i.e.
since the old way of thinking was prevalent, it
was necessarily correct. • The past justifications
for the tradition are still valid at present. An
appeal to tradition is only a fallacious argument
in itself if the argument is not developed
further, for example by pointing out that the
widespread acceptance of the practice means that
there would be significant
implications/disruption/cost involved in
abandoning the tradition.

Appeal to Nature

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An appeal to nature is an argument or rhetorical
tactic in which it is proposed that "a thing is
good because it is 'natural', or bad because it is
'unnatural'". It is generally considered to be a
bad argument because the implicit primary premise
"What is natural is good" is typically irrelevant,
having no cogent meaning in practice, or is an
opinion instead of a fact. In some philosophical
frameworks where natural and good are clearly
defined within a specific context, the appeal to
nature might be valid and cogent.

Appeal to Ignorance

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Argument from ignorance, also known as appeal to
ignorance, is a fallacy in informal logic. It
asserts that a proposition is true because it has
not yet been proven false or a proposition is
false because it has not yet been proven true.
This represents a type of false dichotomy in that
it excludes the possibility that there may have
been an insufficient investigation to prove that
the proposition is either true or false. It also
does not allow for the possibility that the answer
is unknowable, only knowable in the future, or
neither completely true nor completely false. In
debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used
in an attempt to shift the burden of proof. In
research, low-power experiments are subject to
false negatives and false positives. The term was
likely coined by philosopher John Locke in the
late 17th century.

Begging the Question

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In classical rhetoric and logic, begging the
question is an informal fallacy that occurs when
an argument's premises assume the truth of the
conclusion, instead of supporting it. It is a type
of circular reasoning: an argument that requires
that the desired conclusion be true. This often
occurs in an indirect way such that the fallacy's
presence is hidden, or at least not easily
apparent. In modern vernacular usage, however,
begging the question is often used to mean
"raising the question" or "suggesting the
question". Sometimes it is confused with "dodging
the question", an attempt to avoid it. The phrase
begging the question originated in the 16th
century as a mistranslation of the Latin petitio
principii, which in turn was a mistranslation of
the Greek for "assuming the conclusion".

False dilemma

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A false dilemma is a type of informal fallacy,
more specifically one of the correlative-based
fallacies, in which a statement falsely claims an
"either/or" situation, when in fact there is at
least one additional logically valid option. The
false dilemma fallacy can also arise simply by
accidental omission of additional options rather
than by deliberate deception. For example, "Stacey
spoke out against socialism, therefore she must be
a fascist". "Roger opposed an atheistic argument
against Christianity, so he must be a Christian".
Roger might be an atheist who disagrees with the
logic of some particular argument against
Christianity. Additionally, it can be the result
of habitual tendency, whatever the cause, to view
the world with limited sets of options. Some
philosophers and scholars believe that "unless a
distinction can be made rigorous and precise it
isn't really a distinction".

Argument to moderation

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Argument to moderation—also known as false
equivalence, false compromise, argument from
middle ground, and the golden mean fallacy—is the
fallacy that the truth is a compromise between two
opposite positions. An example of a fallacious use
of the argument to moderation would be to regard
two opposed arguments—one person saying that the
sky is blue, while another claims that the sky is
in fact yellow—and conclude that the truth is that
the sky is green. While green is the colour
created by combining blue and yellow, therefore
being a compromise between the two positions, the
sky is obviously not green, demonstrating that
taking the middle ground of two positions does not
always lead to the truth. Vladimir Bukovsky
maintained that the middle ground between the big
lie of Soviet propaganda and the truth was itself
a lie, and one should not be looking for a middle
ground between information and disinformation.

Slippery Slope Fallacy

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A slippery slope argument, in logic, critical
thinking, political rhetoric, and caselaw, is
often viewed as a logical fallacy in which a party
asserts that a relatively small first step leads
to a chain of related events culminating in some
significant effect. The core of the slippery slope
argument is that a specific decision under debate
is likely to result in unintended consequences.
The strength of such an argument depends on the
warrant, i.e. whether or not one can demonstrate a
process that leads to the significant effect. This
type of argument is sometimes used as a form of
fearmongering, in which the probable consequences
of a given action are exaggerated in an attempt to
scare the audience.

Affirming the Consequent

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Affirming the consequent, sometimes called
converse error, fallacy of the converse, or
confusion of necessity and sufficiency, is a
formal fallacy of taking a true conditional
statement and invalidly inferring its converse
even though the converse may not be true. This
arises when a consequent has more than one other
possible antecedents. Converse errors are common
in everyday thinking and communication and can
result from, among other causes, communication
issues, misconceptions about logic, and failure to
consider other causes. The opposite statement,
denying the consequent, is a valid form of
argument.

Denying the Antecedent

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Denying the antecedent, sometimes also called
inverse error or fallacy of the inverse, is a
formal fallacy of inferring the inverse from the
original statement. It is committed by reasoning
in the form...

Moving the Goalposts

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Moving the goalposts is a metaphor, derived from
goal-based sports, that means to change the
criterion of a process or competition while it is
still in progress, in such a way that the new goal
offers one side an intentional advantage or
disadvantage.

Loaded Question

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A loaded question or complex question is a
question that contains a controversial or
unjustified assumption. Aside from being an
informal fallacy depending on usage, such
questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the
question attempts to limit direct replies to be
those that serve the questioner's agenda. The
traditional example is the question "Have you
stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent
answers yes or no, they will admit to having a
wife and having beaten her at some time in the
past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the
question, and in this case an entrapment, because
it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and
the fallacy of many questions has been committed.
The fallacy relies upon context for its effect:
the fact that a question presupposes something
does not in itself make the question fallacious.

No True Scotsman

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No true Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is an
informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect
a universal generalization from counterexamples by
changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to
exclude the counterexample. Rather than denying
the counterexample or rejecting the original
claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the
assertion to exclude the specific case or others
like it by rhetoric, without reference to any
specific objective rule: "no true Scotsman would
do such a thing"; i.e., those who perform that
action are not part of our group and thus
criticism of that action is not criticism of the
group.

Equivocation fallacy

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Decision Point Fallacy (Sorites Paradox)

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Hasty Generalisations (Anecdotes)

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Faulty Analogy

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Burden of Proof

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False Cause (and Texas Sharpshooter)

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Personal Incredulity

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The Fallacy Fallacy

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non-sequitur

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Code to fetch abstracts from duck duck go

import requests
from tqdm import tqdm
from textwrap import dedent, wrap
import urllib.parse

doc = ""
leftout = ''
root = "https://api.duckduckgo.com/"
with requests.Session() as sess:
    for q in tqdm(
        [
            "Fallacy of Composition",
            "Fallacy of Division",
            "Gambler's Fallacy",
            "Tu quoque",
            "Strawman fallacy",
            "Ad hominem",
            "Genetic Fallacy",
            "Argument from authority",
            "Red Herring fallacy",
            "Appeal to Emotion",
            "Bandwagon fallacy",
            "Appeal to Tradition",
            "Appeal to Nature",
            "Appeal to Ignorance",
            "Begging the Question",
            "Equivocation fallacy",
            "False dilemma",
            "Argument to moderation",
            "Decision Point Fallacy (Sorites Paradox)",
            "Slippery Slope Fallacy",
            "Hasty Generalisations (Anecdotes)",
            "Faulty Analogy",
            "Burden of Proof",
            "Affirming the Consequent",
            "Denying the Antecedent",
            "Moving the Goalposts",
            "False Cause (and Texas Sharpshooter)",
            "Loaded Question",
            "No True Scotsman",
            "Personal Incredulity",
            "The Fallacy Fallacy",
            "non-sequitur"
        ]
    ):
        r = sess.get(root, params={"q": q, "format": "json"})
        url = r.json()["AbstractURL"]
        abst = r.json()["Abstract"]
        if not abst.strip():
            leftout += f'## {q}\n\n[wiki](https://api.duckduckgo.com/?q={urllib.parse.quote(q)})\n\n'
        else:
            abst = '\n'.join(['    '+line for line in wrap(abst, 50)])
            md = f'## {q}'
            md += '\n\n[wiki]({url})\n\n'
            md += abst + '\n\n'
            doc += md

print(doc + leftout)