ENG015 Rhetorical Fallacies Book Notes.docx

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Pennsylvania State University
ENGL 015
Erica Stevens

FALLACIES Of emotional argument: • Scare tactics - peddle ideas by scaring people and exaggerating possible dangers well beyond their statistical likelihood • Either or choices o become fallacious arguments when they reduce a complicated issue to excessively simple terms or when they’re designed to obscure legitimate alternatives o choices are too stark to reflect the complexity of the actual situation • slippery slope - portrays today’s tiny misstep as tomorrow’s slide into disaster o becomes wrongheaded when writer exaggerates the likely consequences of an action, usually to frighten readers • overly sentimental appeals - use tender emotions excessively to distract readers from facts o often highly personal and focus attention on heartwarming/heart wrenching situations that make readers feel guilty if they challenge an idea/policy/proposal Of ethical argument: • False authority- when writers offer themselves or other authorities as sufficient warrant for believing a claim • Dogmatism- when a writer asserts or assumes that a particular position is the ONLY one that is conceivably acceptable o Imply no arguments are necessary: truth = self-evident and needs no support • Ad hominem arguments- attack the character of a person rather than the claims he/she makes • Stack the deck- showing only one side of the story Of logical argument: • Hasty generalization- an inference drawn from insufficient evidence o Ex. B/c my Honda broke down, all Hondas must be junk o Forms the basis for most stereotypes about people/institutions o S
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