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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. Any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue

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

3. 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.

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

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

6. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

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

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

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

11. Appeal to reason

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

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

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

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

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

18. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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

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

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

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

23. 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.'

24. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

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

27. 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.

28. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

29. 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'

30. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

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

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

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

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

35. Appeal to the reader's emotions

36. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

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

38. 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

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

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

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

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

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

44. 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?

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

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

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

48. 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!'

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

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