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A fallacy is an incorrect or false argument that is based on weak, flawed, illogical, or nonsensical claim or assertion. Think of fallacy a faulty reasoning that makes someone’s argument seem ridiculous and unbelievable. If an argument is based on unsound reasoning, we call the argument or the reasoning fallacious. To decide if an argument is fallacious means that you must look at the argument being made and decide if the logic make sense.
There are many different types of fallacies, but these are generally categorized together under two main types of fallacy. The first type is is a formal fallacy. These types of fallacies are easily disproven and can be destroyed with simple, straightforward logic. The second form of fallacy is informal fallacies. These fallacies are incorrect because the there is a problem with the reasoning of the argument rather than the logic. Logic is a systematic approach to arguments where assumptions and points of arguments have clear, linear support. Reasoning is the capability to make judgements and/or think about something in a linear, logical way.
When thinking about fallacy, then, the concept of false argument falls closer to logic, which is the study of arguments with claims. However, arguing that something is fallacious is a form or reasoning.
Some forms of formal fallacies include anecdotal fallacies, appeals to probability, unwarranted assumptions, and syllogistic fallacies. An anecdotal fallacy is using a single event or your own experience to come to a conclusion. This conclusion is not based on other facts, and may primarily be based on your skewed experience. Due to these two factors, the argument is fallacious. For instance, if I am bitten by a shepherd dog and make an argument from that experience that all shepherd dogs are aggressive and bite, my argument would be fallacious.
An appeal to probability is jumping to a conclusion by thinking that something is likely to be true or likely to happen. For instance, if you go to the zoo you would probably come to the conclusion that the tigers will be out because that is where they live and it is a nice sunny day. To add to your argument, anytime you go to the zoo on a sunny day, the tigers are out. You think it is most likely that the tigers will be out to see, but this is a fallacious claim. Just because they will most likely be out does not mean that they actually will be outside.
Common informal fallacies include red herrings in arguments, cherry picking, ad hominem, and appeals to emotion. Red herrings are pieces of evidence or statements in arguments that are meant to distract the audience. They usually seem to relate to the argument, or provide support to the argument, but this is not the case. Cherry picking is using particular pieces of evidence or information to support a claim and ignoring adverse or counter arguments and information. This is pick-and-choose arguments. Ad hominem is when the arguer attacks the speaker personally rather than counter the opponent’s argument. Appeals to emotion are just as they sound. In these fallacious arguments, the arguer tries to prove their argument by making the audience feel something rather than convincing them through logic.
The following statements are examples of fallacious statements:
“All German Shepherds are dogs; therefore, all dogs are German Shepherds.”
The logic of this statement is fallacious. This is syllogism fallacy, where a false argument implies the conclusion.
“She does not have the stamina or the emotional strength to be the leader of our country.”
This is an Ad hominem argument and fallacy. Instead of attacking the individual’s argument and position, the speaker here details how the woman does not have the characteristics or personal features to be a good leader.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use fallacy worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what fallacy is and how it can be used. You can use these fallacy worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Fallacy Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 5, 2017
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These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.