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SAT Essay Logical Fallacies

Subjects : sat, english, writing-skills
  • Answer 50 questions in 15 minutes.
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  • Match each statement with the correct term.
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This is a study tool. The 3 wrong answers for each question are randomly chosen from answers to other questions. So, you might find at times the answers obvious, but you will see it re-enforces your understanding as you take the test each time.
1. Reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case

2. Is there a reasonable connection between the cause and the effect? Is that connection explained? Are there other possible causes that have not been considered?

3. Generalization: Assumes that members of a group must have a characteristic because one or more of its members has that characteristic.

4. Appeal to reason

5. Stating the only two interpretations of actions are alternatives - ignoring any compromise or moderate course

6. False transitive property - you assume that just because two things share a characteristic - all of their characteristics are shared: - 'penguins are black and white - old tv shows are black and white - therefore penguins are old tv shows'

7. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

8. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

9. Statements that are intentionally vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations

10. 'Against the man' attacking the person or group to which you are opposed rather than addressing the issue

11. The use by a speaker of coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different (and negative) meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience.

12. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

13. Reasoning by Proof: A fallacy in which a speaker or writer seeks to persuade not by giving evidence but by appealing to the respect people have for a person or institution.

14. A fallacy that assumes that taking a first step will lead to subsequent steps that cannot be prevented

15. Reasoning by Debate: A fallacy that forces listeners to choose between two alternatives when more than two alternatives exist

16. 'To the authority' appeal based on the authority of a source

17. Condemning an argument because of where it began - how it began - or who began it

18. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

19. Citing an expert on one subject as expert on another

20. Trying to prove one idea with another idea that is too similar to the first idea

21. Prejudging an individual based on ideas one has about the group the individual belongs to

22. Introducing an irrelevant point to divert readers' attention from the main issue being discussed

23. When a writer uses the same term in two different senses in an argument. i.e. People choose what laws they obey. The Law of Gravity is a law. I choose to disobey the law of gravity.

24. 'it does not follow' drawing a conclusion or making a transition that is not a logical result of the facts

25. Writer encourages readers to accept a conclusion without any support

26. Generalization: drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence

27. Drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence; using all instances when only some apply

28. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

29. 'To the people' appeal to the prejudices of the audience - or claiming that (or a majority) supports your opinion

30. Reasoning by Proof: the evidence offered does not really support the claim. Non Sequitur (It does not follow)

31. Appeal to the the pity - sympathy or 'misery' of the audience

32. 'After this therefore because of this' implying that because on event follows another - the first caused the second

33. How similar or how different are the cases being compared? How many point of comparison is the arguer using?

34. Concealing the author's true intent - belief - or attitude towards an issue

35. Generalization: Assumes that an individual must have a characteristic because the group to which he or she belongs supposedly has that characteristic

36. Two comparable issues or ideas are judged by different criteria

37. Any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue

38. Reasoning by Proof: an argument that because someone worked hard at something - their conclusions must be right

39. Reasoning by Proof: absence of evidence is not evidence; he didn't say that... so it must be false

40. Fallacy that asserts that given two positions - there exists a compromise between them which must be correct.

41. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

42. Everybody knows fallacy. Asserts that some idea is common knowledge - so it must be true.

43. Information that can be objectively proven as true

44. Have all reasonable alternatives been considered/eliminated? Does this author attack the other views in a fair way?

45. Reasoning by Debate: When a writer argues against a claim that nobody actually holds or is universally considered weak. Setting up a straw man diverts attention from the real issues.

46. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

47. Ambiguity or multiplicity of interpretations of a repeated word or phrase

48. Does the evidence prove the point being argued? Is this authority an expert on this particular topic?

49. Appeal to the reader's emotions

50. How large is the sample size? How representative is the sample?