Fallacies of Relevance
1. Argumentum ad Baculum (appeal to force). The arguer appeals
to force or the threat of force to compel acceptance of the
2. Argumentum ad Hominem (abusive). "The phrase argumentum ad
hominem translates literally as 'argument directed to the
man.'" The abusive variety occurs when one attacks the other
person rather than the other persons' argument.
3. Argumentum ad Hominem (circumstantial). In this case, one
tries to convince the opponent to agree to the conclusion
based on the opponents circumstances. For example (from
Copi), a hunter may claim an anti-hunter must say hunting is
acceptable since the anti-hunter is not a vegetarian.
4. Argumentum ad Ignoratiam (argument from ignorance). "The
fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam is illustrated by the
argument that there must be ghosts because no one has ever
been able to prove that there aren't any."
5. Argumentum ad Misericordiam (appeal to pity). The arguer
appeals to pity where the conclusion is a matter of reason and
not one of sentiment.
6. Argumentum ad Populam. "the attempt to win popular assent to
a conclusion by arousing the emotions and enthusiasms of the
multitude, rather than by appeal to the relevant facts."
7. Argumentum ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority). This is
especially the appeal to authority outside the field of that
authority's expertise. In the field of the authority's
expertise, "this method of argument is in many cases perfectly
legitimate, for the reference to an admitted authority in the
special field of that authority's competence may carry great
weight and constitute relevant evidence. ... Although it does
not prove the point, it certainly tends to support it."
8. Accident. "The fallacy of accident consists in applying a
general rule to a particular case whose 'accidental'
circumstances render the rule inapplicable."
9. Converse Accident (hasty generalization). Making a general
rule based on a few atypical cases.
10. False Cause. This is mistaking a event to be the cause of
some other event. For example, the sun rises every day after
my rooster crows; therefore, my rooster causes the sun to
11. Petitio Principii (begging the question). The conclusion of
an argument is contained in one of the premises assumed.
12. Complex Question. This is a question of the "Have you
stopped beating your wife?" variety.
13. Ignoratio Elenchi (irrelevant conclusion). An argument which
supports one conclusion is made to prove a different
conclusion. Copi's example is a legislator who, in
discussing a housing bill, argues only that decent housing
for all is desirable, rather than whether the bill in
question would achieve that goal.
Fallacies of Ambiguity.
1. Equivocation. Using the same word in two different senses.
2. Amphiboly. Arguing from premises which are ambiguous due to
their grammatical construction.
3. Accent. Stressing a word in a sentence which thereby changes
4. Composition. Attributing to the whole the properties of the
5. Division. Attributing to the parts the properties of the