Study Notes on Fallacies for UGC NET (Part 2)

By Ashwani Tyagi|Updated : August 20th, 2021

BYJU'S Exam Prep is determined to make your UGC NET Exam Preparation comfortable, In continuation to the previous post “Study Notes on Fallacies (Part 1)” we are here to provide the next part on the topic of Fallacies. In previous post you learnt about the Formal type of fallacies, and now you will get to know about Informal fallacy and related question.

BYJU'S Exam Prep is determined to make your UGC NET Exam Preparation comfortable, In continuation to the previous post “Study Notes on Fallacies (Part 1)” we are here to provide the next part on the topic of Fallacies. In previous post you learnt about the Formal type of fallacies, and now you will get to know about Informal fallacy and related question.

Informal Fallacy

An informal fallacy is an argument whose stated premises fail to support their proposed conclusion. It primarily deals with the logic of the meaning of language. The word “informal” does not here mean it is inferior, casual or improper. It only means that our focus is not on the form of the argument, but on the meaning of the argument. An informal fallacy involves such things as: the misuse of language such as words or grammar, misstatements of fact or opinion, misconceptions due to underlying presuppositions, or just plain illogical sequences of thought.

 Types of Informal Fallacy

  • Ad Ignorantiam

Ad Ignorantiam which is used in an argument as a fallacious appeal to ignorance. For example,

  1. “No one can actually prove that God exists; therefore God does not exist”.

This is a prime example of Ad Ignorantiam. Here, refuting the existence of god just because there is no scientist proof is futile and explains the ignorance. Science is evolving subject so just because no proof is established currently doesn’t mean existence can’t be proven in the future..

  • Equivocation

Equivocation is used when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse deceive, or mislead its saying one thing but actually saying something else.

For example,

  1. The priest told me I should have faith.

         I have faith that my son will do well in school this year.

         Therefore, the priest should be happy with me.

In the above example, the term “faith” is used by the priest in a religious sense of believing in God without sufficient evidence, which is different from having “faith” in your son in which years of good past performance leads to the “faith” you might have in your son.

  • Ad populum

Ad populum are those prepositions which are accepted just because all other people agree on it. For example,

 

  1. “Everyone drives over the speed limit, so it should not be against the law”.

In the above example, Over- speed is a serious traffic violation even if everyone drives over the speed limit. In this statement, the person assumes that driving over the speed limit is not against the law just because everyone is doing the same.

  • The Hasty Generalization Fallacy

This fallacy occurs when someone derive expansive conclusions based on inadequate evidences i.e. people tend to jump to conclusions about the validity of a proposition with meagre evidence to back it up, and overlook possible counterarguments.

For example,

 

  1. Two members of my team have become more engaged employees after taking public speaking classes. That proves we should have mandatory public speaking classes for the whole company to improve employee engagement.

Here, the company proclaims the public speaking classes for the employees will improve engagement between them by considering the cases of only two employees. There is a probability that it won’t work for other employees. Thus, there is no substantive evidence to confirm that public speaking classes will ameliorate the relationship between the employees.  

  • Strawman Fallacy

A straw man is an informal fallacy in which an opponent’s position is depicted as being more extreme or unreasonable than is justified by what was actually asserted.

Example- Student tells his professor that he thinks some of Donald Trump's positions have merit. Professor says he can't believe that the student believes in support racism.

      This is perfect case of strawman fallacy. Here student opinion that Donald Trump’s action have merit is distorted by teacher by saying that student in support of trump are supporters of racism. There is no basis between student’s opinion and teacher’s unreasonable response.

Previous year question papers

1. “Everyone is going to the party. You should go too.” This inference commits which kind of fallacy?

A. Ad Populum

B. Equivocation

C. Ad Verecundiam

D. Ad Ignorantiam

Ans- a) Ad Populum.

Ad populum are those prepositions which are accepted just because all other people agree on it. In this case, just because everyone is going to the party, makes you liable to go the party.          

 2. A fallacy in which an opponent’s position is depicted as being more extreme or unreasonable than is justified by what was actually asserted is called

 

  1. Argumentum ad Baculum
  2. The Red Herring
  3. Argumentum ad Hominem
  4. Straw Man

   A. 1             B. 2

   C. 3             D. 4

 

Ans- d

A straw man is an informal fallacy in which an opponent’s position is depicted as being more extreme or unreasonable than is justified by what was actually asserted.

For example, the person committing the straw man fallacy highlights the most extreme position of the opposing side.

Opposing argument: Teens should be taught about contraception methods so they can practice safe sex should they choose to have intercourse.

 Straw man argument: Proponents of sex education want to give kids license to have sex with no consequences.

 3. The inference “A mouse is an animal. Therefore, a large mouse is a large animal” commits which one of the following fallacies?

(1) Straw man

(2) Slipper slope

(3) Equivocation

(4) Fallacy of composition

 A. 1        B. 2

 C. 3        D. 4

Ans- C

Equivocation is used when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse deceive, or mislead its saying one thing but actually saying something else. In this case, statement is given-mouse is animal. But it doesn’t mean large mouse is large animal. It is done to confuse the people.

 4. “In this hospital, some nurses don’t wear white dress, some doctors have private practice and medicines prescribed are of high cost. Therefore, treatment in this hospital is of poor quality”. What fallacy does this argument make?

 

     1.Fallacy of composition

  1. Slippery slope
  2. Fallacy of accident
  3. Fallacy of division

        A. 1           B. 2

        C. 3           D. 4

Ans- B.

The above example is slippery slope fallacy. A slippery slope is a logical fallacy in which a party asserts that a relatively small first step which leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant effect. In this context, problems of hospitals such as nurses don’t wear white dress or prescription of expensive medicines are mentioned to explain that hospital is of poor quality.

 Hope you guys now have a better understanding of the topic of Fallacies. Must visit for the Part I of this series. If you have any other query, please comment.

Study Notes on Fallacies (Part 1)

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Posted by:

Ashwani TyagiAshwani TyagiMember since Jun 2020
UGC NET Qualified 3 times (history)
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Neha

NehaApr 21, 2020

Thankk u soo much sir ...i didnt get this anywhere.. 🙏
Rayees Baba

Rayees BabaApr 25, 2020

Thanks sir
Sakshi Dhiman
Hiii sir pls provide mcq on fallacies
Ekta Mishra

Ekta MishraMay 25, 2020

Thank you sir bahut ache se samajh aa gya thanx once again👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👍@Pradyumn Tripathi
Babli Rani

Babli RaniMay 26, 2020

Thanks sir
Neetu Tiwari

Neetu TiwariMay 27, 2020

Thnqq sir... Very useful notes🙂🙂
Dimple Kaushik
sir plz bring all fallcies (formal & informal) in a chart... means in a ray diagram somwthing...it'll be helpful to remeber all at a glance.....
...Read More
Shaikh Latyf
So informative

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