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

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

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

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

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

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

7. 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!'

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

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

10. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

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

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

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

14. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

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

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

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

19. Appeal to the reader's emotions

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

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

22. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

23. Generalization: an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence

24. Appeal to reason

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

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

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

28. 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.

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

30. 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

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

32. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

33. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

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

35. 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.'

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

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

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

39. Information that can be objectively proven as true

40. 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.

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

42. 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?

43. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

45. 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.

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

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

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

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

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