fallacy, formal and informal


fallacy, formal and informal

In philosophy, reasoning that fails to establish its conclusion because of deficiencies in form or wording. Formal fallacies are types of deductive argument that instantiate an invalid inference pattern (see deduction; validity); an example is “affirming the consequent: If A then B; B; therefore, A.” Informal fallacies are types of inductive argument the premises of which fail to establish the conclusion because of their content. There are many kinds of informal fallacy; examples include argumentum ad hominem (“argument against the man”), which consists of attacking the arguer instead of his argument; the fallacy of false cause, which consists of arguing from the premise that one event precedes another to the conclusion that the first event is the cause of the second; the fallacy of composition, which consists of arguing from the premise that a part of a thing has a certain property to the conclusion that the thing itself has that property; and the fallacy of equivocation, which consists of arguing from a premise in which a term is used in one sense to a conclusion in which the term is used in another sense.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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