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10 Common Logical Fallacies Everyone Should Know


10 Common Logical Fallacies Everyone Should Know

Logical fallacies undermine critical thinking. Learning them helps strengthen reasoning skills. This article defines 10 fallacies with examples to help identify and avoid them.


Logical fallacies undermine critical thinking. Learning them helps strengthen reasoning skills. This article defines 10 fallacies with examples to help identify and avoid them.

1. Ad Hominem: Attacking the Person

The ad hominem fallacy involves attacking the person rather than addressing their argument. For example, "Don't listen to my opponent's policy argument, he's an idiot." Insulting people evades meaningful debate.

2. Straw Man: Attacking Distorted Arguments

The straw man fallacy misrepresents an argument to make it easier to attack. For instance, "Feminists want women to rule over men." In reality, feminism seeks gender equality. Exaggerating opponents' views distracts from substantive debate.

3. Appeal to Ignorance: Assuming Truth or Falsehood

Appeal to ignorance claims something is true or false only because it hasn't been proved otherwise. For example, "No one has proven ghosts don't exist, so they must be real." Lack of evidence does not confirm or refute a claim.

4. False Dilemma: Forcing Limited Choices

False dilemmas present issues as only having two options, when there are actually more possibilities. For instance, "We must either ban this dangerous chemical or allow the economy to collapse." Regulations could be introduced instead of outright banning.

5. Appeal to Authority: Blind Trust in Experts

Appeal to authority fallacies over-rely on claims from authority figures over logic. For example, "Dr. Oz promotes this diet pill, so it must work." But individual experts can be mistaken or misguided. Claims should be scrutinized, not blindly trusted.

6. Hasty Generalization: Drawing Sweeping Conclusions

Hasty generalizations draw broad conclusions from limited evidence. For example, "I got food poisoning from that restaurant once, so that restaurant's food always makes people sick." One incident does not prove an overall pattern.

7. Slippery Slope: Exaggerating Consequences

Slippery slopes argue modest first steps inevitably lead to major catastrophes. For instance, "If marijuana is legalized, harder drugs will surely follow." There's no evidence legal pot causes hard drug use. Each step should be evaluated independently.

8. Bandwagon: Following the Crowd

Bandwagon fallacies say something must be true because it's popular. For example, "Most people approve of the death penalty, so it must be a good policy." But popular ideas are not guaranteed to be right or ethical. Each claim needs critical assessment.

9. Red Herring: Diverting Attention

Red herrings divert attention to irrelevant issues, like answering criticism with another topic. For instance, responding to questions about climate change by shifting focus to job creation. Staying on topic is essential for constructive discussion.

10. Appeal to Tradition: Justifying with History

Appeal to tradition justifies something based solely on it being a tradition. For example, "This policy has been in place for 100 years, so it must be sound." Long-standing traditions do not inherently make something right or workable.


Understanding logical fallacies sharpens critical thinking skills. With knowledge and vigilance, we can identify flaws in arguments and reasoning. This strengthens discussion, debate, and decision-making.


Here are FAQs covering the logical fallacies of logic:

What are the 9 logical fallacies of logic?
The 9 main logical fallacies are:

1. Ad hominem - Attacking the person making an argument rather than addressing the argument itself. 

2. Appeal to ignorance - Assuming something is true or false because it has not been proven otherwise.

3. Appeal to emotion - Manipulating emotions rather than presenting factual evidence.

4. Appeal to nature - Claiming something is good because it's "natural" or bad because it's "unnatural."

5. Bandwagon - Attempting to prove a conclusion based on how many people believe it.

6. Begging the question - Circular reasoning in which a conclusion is assumed in the premises. 

7. False cause - Incorrectly claiming one thing causes another without sufficient evidence.

8. Red herring - Diverting attention away from the central issue.

9. Straw man - Misrepresenting an opponent's position to make it easier to attack.

What is a logical fallacy?
A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning that leads to an invalid argument. Logical fallacies rely on improper premises, faulty causality, and false analogies to draw incorrect conclusions. They can be either intentional or unintentional.

What are the 8 fallacies of relevance?
The 8 fallacies of relevance are:

1. Appeal to emotion - Using emotion rather than logic to argue a conclusion.

2. Appeal to pity - Attempting to win support by exploiting feelings of pity from the audience. 

3. Appeal to fear - Stressing the dangerous or unpleasant consequences of an action to scare the audience.

4. Appeal to ridicule - Attacking a position by presenting it in an exaggerated or ridiculous way.

5. Appeal to popularity - Claiming an idea is true because it is widely accepted.

6. Appeal to wealth - Reasoning that money or success equates to truth.

7. Appeal to tradition - Justifying something on the grounds that "it's always been done this way."

8. Red herring - Introducing an irrelevant issue to divert attention away from the main topic.

What is an example of a logical fallacy argument?
Here is an example of a logical fallacy:
Flu shots should be avoided because they contain dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde. Many chemicals sound scary, but not everything that sounds scary is dangerous. This argument relies on the appeal to emotion fallacy by trying to scare people rather than using evidence about the dangers of flu shots.


  1. Tindale, Christopher W. Fallacies and Argument Appraisal. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  2. Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies., 2012.
  3. Cline, Austin. "Logical Fallacies: The Fallacy Files." The Fallacy Files, 2022, Accessed 1 March 2023.
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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