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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. 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.

2. 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'

3. 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.

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

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

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

7. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

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

10. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

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

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

13. Claiming that one step in the wrong direction will lead to another - potentially disastrous consequence

14. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22. 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.'

23. 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?

24. 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

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

26. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

27. Cause and Effect: claim than an event with more than one cause has only one cause

28. Information that can be objectively proven as true

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

30. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

31. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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

33. Appeal to reason

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

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

36. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

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

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

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

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

43. 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.

44. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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