Shifting ground

Shifting ground

Shifting ground -How To Win Every Argument People may employ hedging to make their contentions ambiguous, or they may use a definitional retreat to claim that their words meant something else. In the third version of this defensive type of operation, they may actually change the whole ground they were maintaining, while still claiming continuity. When […]

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Secundum quid

Secundum quid

Secundum quid -How To Win Every Argument The fallacy of secundum quid is otherwise known as the hasty generalization. Whenever a generalization is reached on the basis of a very few and possibly unrepresentative cases, the fallacy is committed. It takes the argument from particular cases to a general rule on the basis of inadequate evidence. […]

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Reification

Reification

Reification -How To Win Every Argument The fallacy of reification, also called hypostatization, consists in the supposition that words must denote real things. Because we can admire the redness of a sunset, we must not be led by the existence of the word into supposing that redness is a thing. When we see a red ball, […]

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Refuting the example

Refuting the example

Refuting the example -How To Win Every Argument Examples are often adduced in support of an argument. When attention is focused on showing the example to be a false one, but leaving the central thesis unchallenged, the fallacy is known as ‘refuting the example’. ‘Teenagers are very bad-mannered these days. That boy from next door nearly […]

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Quaternio terminorum

Quaternio terminorum

Quaternio terminorum -How To Win Every Argument Quaternio terminorum is the fallacy of four terms. The standard three-line argument requires that one term be repeated in the first two lines, and eliminated from the conclusion. This is because it works by relating two things to each other by first relating each of them to a third […]

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Populum, argumentum ad

Populum, argumentum ad

Populum, argumentum ad -How To Win Every Argument The argumentum ad populum appeals to popular attitudes instead of presenting relevant material. In other words, it is based on prejudice. It exploits the known propensity of people to accept that which fits in comfortably with their preconceptions. The popular prejudices may or may not be justified, […]

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Poisoning the well

Poisoning the well

Poisoning the well -How To Win Every Argument The most attractive feature of poisoning the well is that the opposition is discredited before they have uttered a single word. At its crudest, the fallacy consists in making unpleasant remarks about anyone who might disagree with a chosen position. When some willing victim steps forward to dispute […]

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Petitio principii

Petitio principii

Petitio principii -How To Win Every Argument The fallacy of petitio principii, otherwise known as ‘begging the question’, occurs whenever use is made in the argument of something which the conclusion seeks to establish. The petitio is a master of disguise and is capable of assuming many strange forms. One of its commonest appearances has […]

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One-sided assessment

One-sided assessment

One-sided assessment -How To Win Every Argument Many of the decisions we are called upon to weigh up have both advantages and drawbacks. The fallacy of one-sided assessment is fallen into when only one side of the case is taken into consideration. Decisions usually require both pros and cons to be taken account of, and […]

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