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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. Cause and Effect: A fallacy that assumes that because two variables are correlated (happen at the same time) that one must have caused the other

2. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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

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

5. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. 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.

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

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

15. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

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

17. 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.

18. Reasoning by Debate: In an argument - this is an attack on the person rather than on the opponent's ideas. It comes from the Latin meaning 'against the man.'

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

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

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

22. 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.

23. Appeal to the reader's emotions

24. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

26. Logical reasoning that establishes specific facts or contentions leading to a general conclusion

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

28. Cause and Effect: Assuming that an incident that precedes another is the cause of the second incident

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

30. Information the writer asserts as being the result of an event

31. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

32. 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.

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

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

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

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

37. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

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

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

40. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

41. Cause and Effect: 'What if' fallacy. Argues that everything would be different if one variable was different. Example: 'If the Nazis had won WWII - we'd all be speaking German!'

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

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

44. Information that can be objectively proven as true

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

46. 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'

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

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

49. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

50. Reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case