>> Part One: Logical Fallacies
Logical fallacies send several messages to your audience. They tell your audience that you're not trustworthy since you're constructing an argument based on erroneous logic. Logical fallacies damage your credibility as well. However, conscientious writers don't use logical fallacies intentionally. According to White and Billings, logical fallacies typically emerge for three reasons:
For example, if your argument is that the former US president's use of "cowboy diplomacy" was endangering US international relations, you wouldn't want to attack the former US president on a personal level by writing, "In the end, he's just a Texas redneck at heart." This would be a logical fallacy called the argumentum ad hominem,* a personal attack that distracts the reader instead of offering compelling evidence for the argument. Typically, personal attacks, ad hominem fallacies, result from poor methods of argumentative reasoning and a lack of audience awareness. Especially in academic writing, personal attacks on those who hold opposing points of view rarely hold any persuasive appeal for readers. Beware the ad hominem fallacy.
* Because logical fallacies were identified during times when the language of scholars was Latin, many of them have Latin names, which we use for your information. If there is a corresponding English name, we'll provide that, too.
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