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Logical  Fallacy: a error in reasoning
  (adj)     (noun)

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Statement #85 Discussion

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Below is the statement as it appears with the fallacy marked as correct. You can see the totals of most frequent responses to this statement. And after reading the any discussion going on below, you can select your choice(s) for the correct answer. For now, whoever posts each statement can update corrections.
Noone says "gravy sauce" therefore gravy isn't a sauce.
Appeal to Popularity
Ad Populum

Category: Fallacies of Relevance (Red Herrings)

The Appeal to Popularity has the following form:

  1. Most people approve of X (have favorable emotions towards X).
  2. Therefore X is true.
The basic idea is that a claim is accepted as being true simply because most people are favorably inclined towards the claim. More formally, the fact that most people have favorable emotions associated with the claim is substituted in place of actual evidence for the claim. A person falls prey to this fallacy if he accepts a claim as being true simply because most other people approve of the claim.

It is clearly fallacious to accept the approval of the majority as evidence for a claim. For example, suppose that a skilled speaker managed to get most people to absolutely love the claim that 1+1=3. It would still not be rational to accept this claim simply because most people approved of it. After all, mere approval is no substitute for a mathematical proof. At one time people approved of claims such as "the world is flat", "humans cannot survive at speeds greater than 25 miles per hour", "the sun revolves around the earth" but all these claims turned out to be false.

This sort of "reasoning" is quite common and can be quite an effective persuasive device. Since most humans tend to conform with the views of the majority, convincing a person that the majority approves of a claim is often an effective way to get him to accept it. Advertisers often use this tactic when they attempt to sell products by claiming that everyone uses and loves their products. In such cases they hope that people will accept the (purported) approval of others as a good reason to buy the product.

This fallacy is vaguely similar to such fallacies as Appeal to Belief and Appeal to Common Practice. However, in the case of an Ad Populum the appeal is to the fact that most people approve of a claim. In the case of an Appeal to Belief, the appeal is to the fact that most people believe a claim. In the case of an Appeal to Common Practice, the appeal is to the fact that many people take the action in question.

This fallacy is closely related to the Appeal to Emotion fallacy, as discussed in the entry for that fallacy.

Click For Fallacy Description
Begging the Question
Petitio Principii

AKA Circular Reasoning, Reasoning in a Circle

Category: Fallacies of Presumption

Begging the Question is a fallacy in which the premises include the claim that the conclusion is true or (directly or indirectly) assume that the conclusion is true. This sort of "reasoning" typically has the following form.

  1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
  2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because simply assuming that the conclusion is true (directly or indirectly) in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion. Obviously, simply assuming a claim is true does not serve as evidence for that claim. This is especially clear in particularly blatant cases: "X is true. The evidence for this claim is that X is true."

Some cases of question begging are fairly blatant, while others can be extremely subtle.

Click For Fallacy Description

 505 Total Answer Attempts   65%
 327 Correctly Popped Fallacies
 178 Incorrectly Un/Popped
posted by Switness     

Most Common Responses

 
188 - Appeal to Popularity
139 - Begging the Question
18 - Fallacy of Composition
14 - Appeal to Tradition
12 - Fallacy of Division
11 - Biased Generalization
11 - Appeal to Common Practice
11 - Hasty Generalization
10 - Confusing Cause and Effect
8 - Post Hoc
7 - Ignoring a Common Cause
7 - Misleading Vividness
6 - False Dilemma
6 - Appeal to Belief
6 - Peer Pressure
5 - Burden of Proof
4 - Special Pleading
4 - Relativist Fallacy
4 - Genetic Fallacy
4 - Appeal to Authority
4 - Guilt by Association
3 - Circumstantial Ad Hominem
3 - Appeal to Ridicule
3 - Red Herring
3 - Ad Hominem
2 - Slippery Slope
2 - Appeal to the Consequences of a Belief
2 - Appeal to Spite
2 - Gambler's Fallacy
2 - Poisoning the Well
1 - Personal Attack
1 - Appeal to Fear
1 - Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
1 - Appeal to Emotion

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