Type of Fallacy

  1. Self-contradiction

  2. Self-defeating

  3. Circular reasoning/Question-begging arguments

  4. False dilemma

  5. Complex question

  6. Personal attack

  7. Appeal to irrelevant authority

  8. Appeal to popularity

  9. Appeal to emotion

  10. Red herring

  11. Straw Person

  12. Slippery slope

  13. Causal fallacy

  14. Hasty generalization

  15. Fallacy of composition

  16. Fallacy of division



Councilor Philips: “We’ll have to cut education funding this year.” Councilor Aurora: “Why?”

Councilor Philips: “Well, either we cut the funding for education or we live with a huge deficit and we can’t livewith the deficit.”

Answer (name the fallacy and explain how Philips’ argument fits the fallacy): This is a false dilemma.

Philips assumes that there only two choices (1) the government has to cut education or (2) live with a huge deficit. Butthis is not true. There can be other choices such as increasing tax or cutting other unnecessary government expenses. There are actually other choices.


Worker Aurora: The company should offer a salary increase this year.

Employer Philip: I don’t think it is a good idea. If the increase is great, the company cannot afford and will run into trouble. If the increase is small, the worker will despise it and say that the company is stingy. It is better not to do anything.


Philips: That is an unpopular book.

Aurora: Why?

Philips: It did not sell well at all.


Teacher Aurora: Students who cheat on exams should receive zero mark.

Teacher Philips: I can’t agree with you! Why would you insist that students who cheat on exams should be expelled from school? That’s unfair to those students!


Mother Aurora: Why do you think that we should not organize a family trip to Taiwan?

Father Philips: I overheard a property expert’s conversation last week. He said his company is going to sell all of his properties in Taiwan because there is a potential earthquake in the next two years. I think he is right andwe should not go to Taiwan.


Aurora: What’s the color of your favorite sweater?

Philips: My sweater is yellow because the atoms that make up the sweater is yellow.


Aurora: Bills says smoking is harmful to people’s heath because cigarettes can cause breathing disabilities.

Philips: Don’t listen to him! He is a doctor and he never smokes.


Aurora: How many foreign languages do you think students from ABC university can speak?

Philips: I met four guys on a train, and they said they were from ABC university and they could speak four foreign languages frequently. Almost everyone in ABC university must be able to speak at least four foreign languages.


Judge Aurora: Mr Chan Tai Man was engaged in drink driving and caused death to six road users. I now sentence Mr Chan to seven years’ of imprisonment.

Lawyer Philips: Our Honorable Judge, you are right that my client Mr Chan was engaged in drink driving. However, on that day he was in a terrible mood. His mother died two months ago, his wife left her two weeks ago, and on that very day, his son brought home a very poor report card. It is understandable that a person would get drunk. I think he deserves a shorter period of imprisonment.


Philips: What’s your plan for Valentine’s Day? Aurora: I am not in a relationship right now!


Aurora: Why do you think judges should give maximum sentences for all convicted criminals?

Philips: If they start making exceptions, defenders will start asking for lighter sentences. And criminals will be getting off with mere warnings. Finally, no one would respect the laws and the security of the entire society will be in great danger.


Aurora: How do you know Peter’s garage is bigger than yours?

Philips: Since his house is bigger than my house, his garage must be bigger than mine.


Philips: Our company only hire people who are fluent in at least four languages. Therefore, Aurora, whois an employee of our company, can speak no less than four languages.


Aurora: Is Burgundy the right person for you?

Philips: She was late for our first date. Even though we had only one date, I can tell this will happen again and again in the future. So, I am convinced she is not the right person for me.


Aurora: Bill was fired yesterday because he was caught stealing money from the company.

Philips: That’s unfair! Bill is a kind person and he donates money to charities every year.


Philips starts dating Aurora and he does not really think that their relationship will have any sort of future because he has never had a successful date. He therefore does not invest in the relationship as much causingAurora to feel distanced and they break up very soon.

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