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SAT Essay Logical Fallacies

Subjects : sat, english, writing-skills
  • Answer 50 questions in 15 minutes.
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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. Writer encourages readers to accept a conclusion without any support

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

3. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. 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.'

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

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

15. Appeal to the reader's emotions

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

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

18. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

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

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

21. 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

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

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

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

26. 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?

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

28. 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.

29. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

30. Appeal to reason

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

32. Information that can be objectively proven as true

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

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

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

36. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

44. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

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

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

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

49. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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