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Welcome! This is the place to ask the community of experts and other fallacyophites (I made up that word) if someone has a committed a fallacy or not. This is a great way to settle a dispute! This is also the home of the "Mastering Logical Fallacies" student support.


Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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John Smith

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John Smith


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Sun, Jan 06, 2019 - 10:45 AM

What logical fallacy is this argument?

Was recently listening to an abortion debate, the prochoice supporter used the following argument.

"We can't know the circumstances under which conception begins, which is why these questions and answers must remain in women's hands."

What fallacy (or fallacies) does that argument engage?



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Abdulazeez Alabbasi

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Abdulazeez Alabbasi


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Print Sun, Jan 06, 2019 - 08:21 PM
It sounds like an argument from ignorance to me.


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Sun, Jan 06, 2019 - 10:59 AM
This seems a little out of context and I don't full understand what the person is arguing, so I am going to make some assumptions.
I believe the person is arguing:

P1: We can't know the circumstances under which conception begins
C: Therefore, these questions and answers must remain in women's hands

The first problem I see is that the person is begging the question by linking knowing when conception begins with the "questions and answers" having to do with abortion. I really don't what questions and answers to which the person is referring, so we might be also dealing with equivocation or perhaps some derivation of ambiguity fallacy.

Again, I just want to make it clear that I would not call this person out a fallacy without asking for clarification first, specifically, asking them to elaborate on how knowing when conception begins is relevant and to what questions and answers it is relevant.

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