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Fallacies

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I. Fallacies
A. What are Fallacies
B. Bandwagon Fallacy
C. Either – Or Fallacy

A fallacy is an error in reasoning in which the evidence given for the conclusion does not provide the needed degree of support. Fallacies are defects that weaken the speaker’s arguments when trying to persuade an audience while speaking. By preparing yourself to look for fallacies in your own and others’ writing you can strengthen your ability to avoid using fallacies. There are two important things to know about fallacies: One, fallacies arguments are very common and can be quite persuasive to the casual reader or listener. Two, it is sometimes hard to determine whether an argument is a fallacy. Your goal when preparing your speech should be to look critically at your own arguments separate them from the weak and move them towards the strong side.

A bandwagon fallacy is based on an appeal to popular belief and behavior not on valid and logical points. An argument based on the bandwagon fallacy usually is similar to “everyone else does this so it must be true” or “everyone else does this so it must be right.” For instance, a television show is good because it has many viewers is an example of a fallacious bandwagon, because high viewership does not determine if the show is good or not. This can be effective because it suggests that by defying the claim one is defying the beliefs of everyone or of the vast majority of people. Many people are afraid that they will seem unintelligent if they challenge a belief that is supposedly held by most people.

Either – Or fallacy occurs when a speaker makes a claim that presents an artificial range of choices when there are actually more options to choose from. Also referred to as false dilemma when someone accidentally or purposefully makes an argument confuses contradictory and contrary propositions. For example, he is breathing or he is not breathing is contradictory. Another example today is Monday or today is Tuesday which is a contrary statement. So basically either –or fallacy limits the listeners choices when they have so much more to choose from.

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