Main Conclusion (MC): persuasive claim
Premise (P): premise
1. Appeal to Force or Threat of Force:Instead of offering reasons this fallacy
threatens to use force to get another to do something or accept an idea.
2. Appeal to Emotion: Instead of offering reasons to support a conclusion
they persuade us by manipulating our emotions and desires.
a. Appeal to Pity: The defendant has already suffered enough so you
should not find him guilty.
b. Appeal to Fear: If you don’t convict this defendant of murder and
you do not find him guilty, he will be released and you may become
his next victim.
c. Appeal to Flattery: You should make an exception and give me an
extension because you are the most compassionate professor on
d. Appeal to Guilt or Shame: The argument attempts to persuade by
making the person to be persuaded feel guilty for not accepting the
3. Ad Hominem Fallacy: Instead of challenging an individual’s arguments, the
person, often their character is attacked. Even someone with poor
character can build a good argument.
a. Abusive Ad Hominem: Opponent is insulted or abused. An attempt
to make a personal characteristic of the opponent a valid reason to
discount his or her ideas.
**NOTE**: Sometimes is confused with Question-Begging Epithet.
Distinction – Abusive ad Hominem attacks the person, Question-
Begging epithet attacks the argument or a thing.
b. Circumstantial Ad Hominem: Argument criticized on basis that it
merely advocates the interests of the opponent. Distinct from
Abusive ad Hominem because focus is on the person’s circumstances
1 or situation, not their personal characteristics. Again, opponent’s
motives are irrelevant.
c. Guilt by Association: Instead of offering reasons, an opponent’s
argument is discredited because she or he is the member of a
d. Tu Quoque: Opponent, or person advocating a position, is accused of
acting in a manner which contradicts that position. Charge of
hypocrisy – ‘pot calling the kettle black’ & accusing opponent of not
‘practicing what s/he preaches.’ Focus on behaviour of opponent is
not relevant to the merits of his/her argument.
e. Poisoning the Well: A psychological technique which aims to make it
impossible for the opponent to reply or disagree. It dispenses with
objections by making anyone who objects appear foolish. Or the
opponent is discredited before they present their argument. A
rebuttal seems to only strengthen the accusation.
**NOTE**: Sometimes what appears to be an ad hominem fallacy is
justified For example: If someone is testifying based on his or her
experience and there are good grounds for doubting that person’s
memory or truthfulness. E.g. someone with a history of perjury
4. Shifting the Burden of Proof: When someone who introduces an argument
shifts the burden of proof to the critic rather supporting their argument
**NOTE**: Not a fallacy if the opponent notes that the arguer has not
supplied support for the argument & needs to.
5. Self- Evident Truth: The arguer presents his or her position asself-evident &
not requiring defense.
a. Indicator Phrases:
i. “It is self-evident that…”
ii. “It is obvious to everyone…..”
iii. “No one can deny that…..”
v. “It is common sense…..”
2 6. Appeal to Ignorance: The listener’s inability to disprove the conclusion is
used as proof of the argument’s correctness. “You can’t prove me wrong,
therefore, I must be right.” or “If you can’t prove it is right then it must be
wrong.” Appealing to the lack of evidence as though it were evidence.
However, a lack of evidence only proves that there is no evidence.
7. Loaded Presupposition: Also known as Fallacy of Many Questions, Fallacy
of Loaded Questions, or Fallacy of Complex Questions. An argument is
made which has a controversial presupposition buried within it.
8. Begging the Question: Instead of presenting reasons to support the
conclusion, the premises merely reassert the conclusion in different words.
Arguments that beg the questions are circular arguments.
9. Appeal to Popularity: Instead of reasons, we are told to accept something
as true because it is widely believed, accepted, or done.
a. Appeal to Tradition: An appeal to custom or tradition not evidence
or reasons. Tradition and custom can be result of a history of
oppression. Or can be an excuse.
i. Common Belief: Something everyone has always thought of,
ii. Common Practice: Something everyone has always done,
b. Appeal to Group Membership or Patriotism (Mob Appeal): Uses
patriotism, repetition, sarcasm, innuendo, high-mindedness to
exploit our emotions. Exploits our need to belong to a group &
assures us that our group is right, flattering the crowd or appealing to
their prejudices. The presentation is theatrical; repetition is used.
Makes it difficult for us to disagree or express the opposite opinion.
For if we disagree we are excluded from the group.
10. Appeal to Authority: Appeals to authority are a secondary way of getting
evidence. You are being asked to be convinced on someone’s word or
authority. Fallacious appeals to authority appeal to our sense that others
know better than we