Logical Fallacies Summary and Application

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Logical Fallacies Summary and Application

What do you see when you look at Begging the Question, Hasty Generalization, and Appealing to Emotion? When you initially look at these three categories they may not seem to have too much in common. However, when you look deeper you will see that in fact, they are all different types of logical fallacies. Logical fallacies are errors of reasoning, errors that may be recognized and corrected by prudent thinkers (Downes, 1995). The following quote helps explain why logic is important to us in today’s society. “Logic is not everything. But it is something—something which can be taught, something which can be learned, something which can help us in some degree to think more sensibly about the dangerous world in which we live (Fischer, 1970, p. 306).”

Begging the Question is a type of fallacy that is used quite a bit. It is considered to be a fallacy of assuming when trying to prove something. One of the main things to remember with the use of this fallacy is that the term “Begging the Question” has a very specific meaning. This means that if someone was trying to prove something to us but they are not being specific and leave room for there to be more questions asked then there is a good chance this is an example of a begging the question fallacy. According to Whitman, "The fact that we believe pornography should be legal means that it is a valid form of free expression. And since it's free expression, it shouldn't be banned (Whitman, 2001)" is an example of begging the question.

When you are confronted with something that could be a question of Begging the Question you need to think it through and see if what you are seeing or hearing is actually true. Or if it is just an interpretation of what the artist, speaker, or author wants you to believe when exposed to the form of media.

An example of Begging the Question is an ad where there are a lot of arms with fingers pointing to a bottle of Pepcid Complete and the arms are clothed in what appears to be medical jackets. Under the picture are the words “Pepcid’s the #1 choice of pharmacists. Get the point?” This ad is implying that we get the point that Pepcid is the #1 choice of pharmacists because there are a bunch of pharmacists pointing at it. However, another bigger question could be are these people really pharmacists or just a bunch of models since a...

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...the first line on the form is “Yes, my heart is broken by the needs of a child.” This ad is implying that if you do not send money to help these children not only will your heart be broken but also these children will die.

As you can see logical fallacies are all around us. They are in most advertisements that you pick up, in most debates you hear, in many political arenas. Fallacies are not something that will just go away. However, if you know that they exist perhaps you can be wiser than the advertisers and not fall into their marketing traps. Just think before you act – and that is advice you can always use!


Downes, S. (1995). Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies. Retrieved January 19, 2005, from

Fischer, D. H. (1970). Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. : Harper & Row.

Labossiere, M. C. (1995). Fallacy Tutorial Pro 3.0. Retrieved January 21, 2005, from

Whitman, G. (2001). Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate. Retrieved January 20, 2005, from
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