15 Common Logical Fallacies Examples

Logical fallacies are everywhere. Once you know how to recognize them, you’ll notice just how common they are—and how they can undermine the point their writer is attempting to make. Being able to identify logical fallacies in others’ writing as well as in your own will make you a more critical thinker, which in turn will make you a stronger writer and reader. Say what you mean Grammarly helps you communicate efficiently Write with Grammarly

Examples of logical fallacies
  • The correlation/causation fallacy. …
  • The bandwagon fallacy. …
  • The anecdotal evidence fallacy. …
  • The straw man fallacy. …
  • The false dilemma fallacy. …
  • The slothful induction fallacy. …
  • The hasty generalization fallacy. …
  • The middle ground fallacy.

Logical Fallacies

What is a logical fallacy?

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning that can invalidate your argument. Not every logical fallacy sounds the same. While some have obvious inconsistencies, others are subtle enough to go undetected. Understanding common logical fallacies is an important part of judging others arguments and crafting your own. When you use logic that is consistent and makes sense, your employer and colleagues are more likely to take your arguments seriously.

Examples of logical fallacies

Here are common logical fallacies you may encounter during an argument or debate:

The correlation/causation fallacy

This fallacy is when people believe that correlation equals causation. Oftentimes, correlations happen by coincidence or outside forces. They dont necessarily mean that one thing is directly causing the other. Although this argument may seem easy to notice in theory, it can be challenging to determine in reality.

Example: “Our website got a lot of new traffic last week. We also changed the font on our website last week. This leads me to believe that our new font is the reason we got more website views.”

The bandwagon fallacy

This fallacy is based on the idea that if many people agree on the same point, it must be true. The issue with this kind of argument is that just because an idea is popular, it is not automatically right or true. When people use this kind of argument, it can lead to major issues for the company. By taking a step back to observe how things really are, you can make meaningful changes in your workplace. Believing this kind of fallacy can make you susceptible to peer pressure.

Example: “Everyone is happy with our companys policies. This means that there is no need to get feedback from our new employees.”

The anecdotal evidence fallacy

Rather than using hard facts and data, people using the anecdotal evidence fallacy base their arguments on their own experiences. These kinds of arguments focus on emotions over logic. They do not recognize that one persons experience may not provide sufficient evidence to make a generalized claim. While something may be true to this one person, it may not apply to the general population.

Example: “Whenever I use our email system, I always experience glitches. I think we need to replace the entire system for the company.”

The straw man fallacy

The straw man fallacy gets its name because it is an argument that is thin and has no substance. It occurs when your opponent argues against a position you arent even trying to present. With this tactic, they tend to misrepresent or alter the points you are making. Rather than debating your actual argument, they are attacking a weaker or entirely untrue version of what you really meant.

Example:

Person A: “I think that George is a talented copywriter and should be promoted.”

Person B: “So what youre saying is that all of our other copywriters are untalented? That kind of attitude is hurtful to our team.”

The false dilemma fallacy

This fallacy argues that you can break all arguments into two opposing views. The reality is that most subjects have a spectrum of views and opinions. Rather than assuming an issue is clear-cut between two arguments, they typically are more fluid and nuanced. The main drawback of this kind of fallacy is that it makes the other party look unreasonable. Instead of trying to compromise, those using this kind of argument try to make their opponent look more extreme.

Example: “If our competitor believes in this cause, then it must be wrong. We should avoid supporting this cause since their ideals are so different from ours.”

The slothful induction fallacy

People use the slothful induction fallacy when they ignore substantial evidence and make their claim based on a coincidence or something entirely irrelevant. With this kind of argument, there is research or evidence that clearly indicates that something is true. The person making their argument may choose or fail to acknowledge this.

Example:

Person A: “I was excited to see that our onboarding process increased our employee retention rates. When I interviewed our employees last week, 98% of them said they are still with the company because of the support they got when they first started.”

Person B: “I think the real reason everyone likes it here is that we allow dogs in the office.”

The hasty generalization fallacy

When someone comes to a conclusion based on weak evidence, they are using the hasty generalization fallacy. Those using this argument fail to use well-researched and proven evidence to make their claims. Instead, they may pick and choose a few key details that happen to fit their position. While one piece of evidence can prove their argument, they fail to address counterarguments or other types of evidence that may invalidate their claims.

Example: “Sydney learned a lot from our last company retreat. We need to spend a large portion of our budget sending our entire company on annual retreats so that we can all learn.”

The middle ground fallacy

Those using this kind of argument believe that finding a compromise between two contrasting points must be the right solution. What they may not realize is that there may be better solutions that are entirely unrelated to those two opposing arguments. In reality, these arguments may be completely invalid, which would mean finding a middle ground wouldnt necessarily be the right decision.

Example: “I think our employer should raise our salaries while Jenny thinks they should stay the same. To compromise, our employer is giving us a small end-of-the-year bonus.”

The burden of proof fallacy

The burden of proof fallacy is when you assume something is true simply because there is no evidence against it. Those using this argument claim that their ideas and opinions are correct because they cannot find any other sources that oppose what they have to say.

Example: “Everyone loves our marketing campaign because I havent heard anyone say otherwise.”

The no true Scotsman fallacy

This fallacy is when one person protects their generalized claim by denying counterexamples. They do this by changing the initial terms of their generalization to invalidate any counterexamples that might exist.

Example:

Person A: “Every writer loves using the Oxford comma.”

Person B: “Well, actually, many writers who follow AP style do not use the Oxford comma.”

Person A: “Then writers who use AP style must not be true writers.”

The Texas sharpshooter fallacy

This fallacy gets its name from a story where a man shoots his gun at a wall and draws a target around the bullet holes afterward. He then shows people the target to prove that he has excellent aim. Essentially, this fallacy is when you pick specific evidence or data that fits your claim while ignoring the rest of the information you have. Researchers often need to be careful about only picking sets of data that support their hypothesis when they should be looking at everything they collected.

Example: “Jeremy claims he is a successful businessman because he landed five new clients this month. What he fails to mention is that his sales are down 50% this year.”

The tu quoque fallacy

Rather than coming up with a valid counter-argument, those using the tu quoque fallacy invalidate their opponents criticisms by addressing them with another criticism. With this kind of argument, you find a way to attack your opponent instead of coming up with a logical reason to argue against their original claim.

Example:

Person A: “I think you need more project management experience before you can qualify for this promotion.”

Person B: “You dont even have any project management experience, so who are you to make this claim?”

The personal incredulity fallacy

When people find it challenging to understand why or how something is true, they may use this argument to claim it is false. Even if a large group of people agrees that they find it challenging to believe something is true, this doesnt automatically mean it is false. It may simply mean that they need more context or information to fully understand the claim.

Example: “I dont understand how social media engagement is benefiting our brand, so Im only going to focus on traditional forms of marketing.”

The appeal to authority fallacy

When people misuse authority, this kind of fallacy can occur. Those who use this fallacy often put too much confidence into one persons opinions or thoughts. This is especially evident when this person is arguing something outside of their expertise. Although asking an authority figure to support your argument can be a good debate tactic, it can also become misleading if you do it incorrectly. While it can be a feature of your debate, you should also use researched-based facts and figures to prove your point.

Example: “Our CEO says we dont need to worry about climate change, so I no longer need to find out ways for our company to be more sustainable.”

The fallacy fallacy

While logical fallacies can undermine your argument, they dont necessarily render your claims untrue. A fallacy fallacy is when someone notices your argument contains a fallacy which leads them to believe your entire claim is false. Even if someone has a weak argument, you can still find that their point is true.

In the example below, the first person uses a fallacy to show that dogs are good companions. The second person uses the fallacy to prove them wrong. The third person explains that even though the first person is using a fallacy to support their claim, there actually is proof that dogs make good companions.

Example:

Person A: “Dogs are great companions because I love them.”

Person B: “Well, its clear to me that you are using the anecdotal evidence fallacy to prove your point. Due to this, I find it hard to believe that dogs make good pets.”

Person C: “While they are using that fallacy, there is plenty of hard evidence that does prove that does are good companions.”

FAQ

What is an example of a logical fallacy?

They argue that all their high school friends are doing it because some celebrity just got this new tattoo. Now, whatever your feelings about tattoos, this is a logical fallacy. Just because everyone’s getting this tattoo doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for your kid.

What are the 5 logical fallacy?

Let us consider five of the most common informal logical fallacies—arguments that may sound convincing but actually rely on a flaw in logic. Also known as: misdirection, smokescreen, clouding the issue, beside the point, and the Chewbacca defense.

What is the most commonly used logical fallacy?

These fallacies occur when it is assumed that, because one thing happened after another, it must have occurred as a result of it.
  • Right when I sneezed, the power went off. I must’ve caused the outage.
  • Mary wore her favorite necklace today and aced her spelling test. That necklace must be lucky.

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