5 Rhetorical Fallacies Courtney Fisher

"Either...or" Fallacy: The suggestion that only two alternatives exist when in fact there are more. Examples: "Do people need air or water?" "Either someone loves coffee or someone hates coffee."

Hasty Generalization: A generalization based on insufficient or unrepresented evidence. Examples: "Four out of five dentists recommend Colgate toothpaste brand. Therefore, it must be great." "Kevin's grandparents do not know how to use a computer. Kevin thinks that all older people must be computer illiterate."

Bandwagon Appeal: A claim that an idea should be accepted because a large number of people favor it or believe it to be true. Examples: "The "Rachel" haircut that was wildly popular in the late nineties is a great example." "Abigail: …I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil! Betty: I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil! I saw Martha Bellow with the Devil! Abigail: I saw Goody Sibber with the Devil! Putnam: The marshal, I’ll call the marshal! Betty: I saw Alice Barrow with the Devil! Hale: Let the marshal bring irons!"

Argument to the Person: An attack on the person proposing an argument rather than on the argument itself. Examples: “Well, Isaac Newton believed in Alchemy, do you think you know more than Isaac Newton?” “You can’t prove that there aren’t Martians living in caves under the surface of Mars, so it is reasonable for me to believe there are.”

Force and Fear: The ad baculum fallacy is committed whenever the proponent of an argument attempts to persuade the audience to accept the conclusion by predicting (or causing) unpleasant consequences if it is not accepted. Examples: "If we don’t bail out the big automakers, the US economy will collapse. Therefore, we need to bail out the automakers." "You know, Professor Smith, I really need to get an A in this class. I'd like to stop by during your office hours later to discuss my grade. I'll be in your building anyways, visiting my father. He's your dean, by the way. I'll see you later."

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