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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. Generalization: drawing conclusions based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence

2. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

3. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

4. Appeal to the reader's emotions

5. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13. 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.

14. 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.

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

16. Appeal to reason

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

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

20. 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!'

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

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

29. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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

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

32. 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

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

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

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

36. 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.

37. 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'

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

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

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

41. Information that can be objectively proven as true

42. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

43. 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.

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

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

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

47. 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?

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

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

50. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence