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Here are the most common fallacies that are used for persuasion (As described on Psychology Today by Christopher Dwyer, Ph.D):

Ad Hominem

Ad hominem ("to the man") refers to an attack on the person; for example, regarding their past or personal traits, as a means of undermining/opposing their argument, without having to provide any evidence. Loaded questions evoke a similar effect.

Anecdotal Evidence

Anecdotal Evidence is personal experience. Anecdotes can be a very powerful tool of persuasion but are a weak basis for an argument. We cannot generalize one person’s experience to the population at large. Other people may have had very different experiences. If we account for many experiences (e.g. 1,000 instead of 1), then we might be able to make some generalizations.

Appeal to Emotion

An Appeal to Emotion aims to manipulate emotions or evoke an affective response to gain acceptance, as opposed to using logically compelling evidence. Appeals to pity and compassion are among the most common forms of this argument.

Bandwagon Argument

The Bandwagon Argument is simply an appeal to popularity. For example, “Everyone else is doing it, so why don’t you?” or “Most people believe X, so X must be true.” The bandwagon argument is often based on common belief statements (e.g. “Everyone knows that opposites attract” a common adage that is actually not the case), which are generally weak with respect to credibility.

Begging the Question

Begging the Question is based on circular reasoning (e.g. “We need to cut spending as too much money is being spent”), generally resulting from an individual taking a certain premise for granted.

Black-or-White Fallacy

The Black-or-White Fallacy is the provision of only two alternatives in an argument when there are actually more options available. That is, numerous "shades of grey" are also possible, but are not addressed.

Burden of Proof

The Burden of Proof Fallacy occurs when a claim is made and expected to be accepted because it has not been disproved or even adequately disputed. However, this does not mean the claim is true. As this issue often rests on potential (un)certainty, in such cases, it will require reflective judgment (King & Kitchener, 1994).

Card Stacking

Card-stacking is a method of argumentation in which important counter-arguments are purposefully omitted, creating an imbalance of evidence in an effort to bias the argument.

Composition / Division

The fallacy of composition and division makes the assumption that one part of something will apply to the whole, or that the whole must apply to all the parts.

Fallacy Fallacy

The Fallacy Fallacy refers to dismissing a claim (which may be true) altogether solely because it has been poorly argued (e.g. illogical or with suspect evidence) or because a fallacy was used in arguing its case.

False Cause-Correlation-not-causation

The False Cause Argument, or correlation not causation, refers to the assumption that because two things are related means that one causes the other. For example, 100% of murderers drink water; therefore, drinking water causes people to kill.

Moving the Goalposts

Moving the Goalposts refers to adding related propositions with just enough content altered to continue an argument, in order to avoid conceding after the initial claim had been successfully counter-argued. Similar argument types that fall under this umbrella of fallacies include Special Pleading and No True Scotsman.


A genetic fallacy occurs when a claim is accepted as true or false based on the origin of the claim. ... Examples of Genetic Fallacy: 1. My parents told me that God exists; therefore, God exists.

Loaded Question

Asking a question that has an unjustified presupoosition (assumption) built into it.

Middle Ground Fallacy

The Middle Ground Fallacy is almost the exact opposite of the black-or-white fallacy. For example, where two alternatives are proposed (generally extremes), the middle ground fallacy incorrectly supposes that the truth must rest somewhere in between (i.e. a shade of grey). However, it could very well be the case that truth rests in one of the two ‘extremes’.

Gambler's Fallacy

The Gambler's Fallacy refers to the belief that streaks affect statistically independent phenomena. Simply, there is a one in two chance of a coin landing tails up, so based on this assessment, some might say if heads comes up on the first flip, then it seems likely the coin will come up tails on the second flip. This would be an incorrect assessment of probability, as coins do not have a memory. The same goes for roulette wheels. Every flip and every spin is new and is not dictated by what happened previously. Thus, the probability of flipping a coin and getting tails eight times in a row is the very same as getting HTHTHTHT. The conceptualisation of the gambler’s fallacy is quite similar to the Representativeness Heuristic (Kahneman, 2011; Tversky & Kahneman, 1974).

No True Scotsman

No true Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample.[1][2] Rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any new specific objective rule or criterion: "no true Scotsman would do such a thing"; i.e., those who perform that action are not part of our group and thus criticism of that action is not criticism of the group.[3]

Strawman Fallacy

The Strawman Fallacy involves misrepresenting an argument to make it easier to attack. For example, someone in opposition to your argument refutes it, often irrelevantly, by claiming that you are actually arguing in favor of something else. In this case, the "something else" is the strawman the opposition has purposefully built in order to make it easier to refute your stance, even though the "something else" was never argued for in the first place. Simply, a strawman is built so it can be knocked down.

Slippery Slope Argument

The Slippery Slope Argument is an argument that concludes that if an action is taken, other negative consequences will follow. For example, “If event X were to occur, then event Y would (eventually) follow; thus, we cannot allow event X to happen.” This is often difficult to refute because it is not possible for us to see into the future and guarantee that the subsequent event won’t occur. Often, after critically thinking about patterns in human history, it may be that the subsequent event is likely to happen, in which case, the slippery slope argument may not be illogical. However, such judgment depends on the context of the argument. Regardless, what makes the argument fallacious is that it avoids engaging the argument at hand. It adds a component that isn’t necessarily relevant to the initial argument. Furthermore, the added component is generally emotionally loaded (e.g. fear-evoking).

Tu Qoque-you too

Tu Quoque (translated from Latin as "you too"), or the argument of hypocrisy, refers to avoiding refutation or critique by reverting the same criticism back on to the accuser, without addressing the initial refutation. Another way of looking at this fallacy is as challenging a claim by asserting that the claimant’s behavior is inconsistent with the conclusion they have drawn. In this context, it is a type of ad hominem that rejects a proposition based on the traits of the claimant. For example, in response to the claim that "Eating fast food is unhealthy": “But I saw you eat a burger and fries for lunch only a few hours ago!"

Personal Incredulity

Personal Incredulity refers to the dismissal of a claim by an individual due to a lack of understanding of either the claim itself or the supports for that claim (e.g. an individual’s dismissal of evolution because they don’t understand it).

Special Pleading

An argument in which the speaker deliberately ignores aspects that are unfavorable to their point of view.


Dwyer, Christopher. (Aug 25, 2017). 18 Common Logical Fallacies and Persuasion Techniques, Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thoughts-thinking/201708/18-common-logical-fallacies-and-persuasion-techniques
Darling-Hammond, L. (2008). How can we teach for meaningful learning? In L. Darling-Hammond (Ed.), Powerful Learning, 1–10. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dwyer, C.P. (2017). Critical thinking: Conceptual perspectives and practical guidelines. UK: Cambridge University Press.
King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). Developing Reflective Judgment: Understanding and Promoting Intellectual Growth and Critical Thinking in Adolescents and Adults. CA: Jossey-Bass.
Sweller, J. (2010). Cognitive load theory: Recent theoretical advances. In J. L. Plass, R. Moreno, & R. Brünken (Eds.), Cognitive Load Theory, 29–47. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dwyer, C. P. (2011). The evaluation of argument mapping as a learning tool. Doctoral Thesis, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. UK: Penguin.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Heuristics and biases: Judgement under uncertainty. Science, 185, 1124-1130.
Van Eemeren, F. H., Grootendorst, R., Henkemans, F. S., Blair, J. A., Johnson, R. H., Krabbe, E. C. W., Planitin, C., Walton, D. N., Willard, C. A., Woods, J., & Zarefsky, D. (1996). Fundamentals of argumentation theory: A handbook of historical backgrounds and contemporary developments. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.