<logic, philosophy of science> an attempt to persuade that obviously fails to demonstrate the truth of its conclusion, deriving its only plausibility from a misuse of ordinary language. The informal fallacies include: (1) fallacies of relevance: appeal to ignorance, appeal to authority, ad hominem argument, and appeal to emotion, appeal to force, irrelevant conclusion, and appeal to pity; (2) fallacies of presumption: accident, converse accident, false cause, begging the question, and complex question; (3) fallacies of ambiguity: equivocation, amphiboly, accent, composition, and division. Recommended Reading: Nicholas Capaldi, The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (Prometheus, 1987); S. Morris Engel and Rudolf Steiner, With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies (Bedford, 1994); and Douglas N. Walton, Informal Fallacies: Towards a Theory of Argument Criticisms (Benjamins, 1987).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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