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

2. Appeal based on the credibility of the author

3. Analogy or comparison that is not logically consistent

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

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

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

7. Information that can be objectively proven as true

8. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Information based on personal interpretation of facts

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

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

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

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

20. Appeal to reason

21. 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!'

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

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

24. 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?

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

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

27. 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.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35. Information that is an interpretation of numerical data

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

37. Common knowledge or beliefs readers accept as true

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

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

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

41. 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.

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

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

44. Obscuring or denying the complexity of an issue

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

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

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

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

49. Information gained from personal experience representing a general pattern

50. 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.