Informal Fallacy

In contrast to a fallacy, an informal fallacy originates in a reasoning error other than a flaw in the logical form of the argument. A deductive argument containing an informal fallacy may be formally valid but still remain rationally unpersuasive. Nevertheless, informal fallacies apply to both deductive and non-deductive arguments.

Though the form of the argument may be relevant, fallacies of this type are the "types of mistakes in reasoning that arise from the mishandling of the content of the propositions constituting the argument".

1. Fallacies of Relevance

A fallacy of relevance tends to deal with ones verbal part of an argument. These fallacies are used when trying to provide a counter-argument (whether it has any logic behind it or not).


1. Cherry Picking: one chooses information to go for their argument but avoid information that goes against their argument.
~Used to persuade people to their argument

2. Straw Man Argument: one misrepresents or misidentifies their opponent's view (This could be accidental or incidental).

3. Argument ad Nauseam ("Argument from Repetition): repeating an argument/premise over and over again instead of using supporting evidence.
~Used to the point of making the other give up due to being so annoyed

4. Ignoration Elenchi ("Red Herring Fallacy"): a response that introduces a different topic (that is also easier to respond to) while in the midst of a current one.

5. No True Scotsman: a reinterpretation of factual evidence in order to prevent/save your own argument

6. Ad Hominem Fallacy: to show emotional/prejudice views toward an argumenter.
~This usually has no relevance towards the argument
~Used to avoid the question by changing the subject

7. Continuum Fallacy: states that there is no distinction between two states when there is a continuum between them.
~"Where do you draw the line?"
~Used to debunk or support a claim

8. False Dilemma ("all or nothing"): something is one thing or another, there is no middle group or grey area.
~Used to eliminate complex options and only provide simple answers.

9. Fallacy of the Mean: neutral agreement ("middle ground") between two sides to find a compromise for the truth


2. Erroneous Inference

Is when a false conclusion is reached from a false premise through a correct form of inference.


1. Fallacy of Division: taking facts that apply to a certain topic and putting them to a smaller subset of a group.
~Used in statistics to generalize date/exclude others
~Ecological Fallacy is this but applies to an individual

2. Begging the Question ("Circular Argument"): when someone assumes a statement is true under examination.
~Used when someone creates a conclusion that lacks support.

3. Naturalistic Fallacy: what is naturally occurring in life ought to be morally right.

4. Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: something must be true because there is no evidence against it.

5. Bandwagon: appeals to majorities.
~Some people "hop on the bandwagon"
~"What is popular is not always right."

6. Fallacy of Many Questions/Loaded Question: a question that forces the respondent to accept a controversial premise
~Often used in court cases

7. False Attribution: to attribute others' behavior to internal factors.
~Includes personality, traits, abilities, feelings, etc)
~Used to find the best appeal to the audience

8. Equivocation: using unclear language to misguide someone during an argument.
~Many people use this to have it benefit themselves

9. Genetic Fallacy: basing the truth claim of an argument on the origin of its claims or premises.


3. Misuse/Abuse of Statistics

Is when an argument uses statistics as evidence but does so in a way that changes or alters the meaning the data conveys.


1. Hasty Generalization: a conclusion based on a small sample

2. Slippery Slope: when someone takes a small event and links similar/relevant events to make it seem more extreme.

3. Gambler's Fallacy: a conclusion based on pure chance and backed up by previous outcomes.
~Searching for a pattern that isn't there

4. Correlation Proves Causation: since event 1 followed event 2, event 2 must have caused event 1.

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