Q:

How are fallacies used in written oral and visual arguments?

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Quick Answer

Fallacies are errors in reasoning used in oral, written and visual arguments to intentionally disguise the lack of logic or to substitute for factual argumentative points. A fallacy in logic is an error in reasoning that renders an argument logically invalid. Hundreds of fallacies have been identified and labelled. Fallacies are commonly found in everyday life, particularly in advertisements and politics.

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Campaigns for political office frequently employ logical fallacies. Common examples of fallacies used by candidates include ad hominem attacks against the opponent instead of the topic; false dichotomy or false dilemma arguments, in which a limited number of options are unfairly presented with the implication that choice must be made from only these; and the straw man argument, in which the reasoner sets up a weak argument and then knocks it down by oversimplifying the opponent's position and then refuting the oversimplification.

Fallacies are found in visual arguments and arrangements as well because visual information can be distorted or manipulated just as words can. Because people tend to believe what they see, visual forms of persuasion can be powerful. Various fallacies are used visually, including style over substance, appeal to emotions, appeal to authority and loaded language. Bandwagon fallacies that present the impression that everyone is doing, buying or believing something are commonly used in advertising attempts to persuade a consumer to also do, buy or believe something.

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