See It in Practice

The key thing to remember with logical fallacies is that we want to avoid faulty logic in our writing and we want to be aware of faulty logic in the source material we find. Even if you can’t remember the different types of fallacies explored in the Excelsior OWL, as long as you are aware of logical fallacies and work to avoid any kind of faulty logic, you’re going to be in good shape as you develop arguments.

In this video, watch as our student revises her essay to make sure she has avoided logical fallacies in her arguments.

Video Transcript
Student says:

I’ve finally finished a very rough draft of my essay, and after reviewing the lessons on logical fallacies, our professor says it’s time to look at our own writing to see if we have made any bad arguments using fallacies. When we have fallacies in our writing, we lose credibility, so we have to be super careful.

I’ve highlighted a few areas in my essay that I think might be a little risky and ones that I need to consider further.

Here, I’m a little worried about my language in the first paragraph of my introduction. I make a claim here that racism and fear fueled the decision to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1, illegal drug. I’m worried about my language here where I say it was racism and fear and not logic or reason. I feel like I might need to soften my language here, so I’m not setting up an either-or or false-dilemma fallacy. Though my evidence suggests racism and fear were factors, I can’t make the claim that it was solely this and not reason or logic at all that led to the decision to make marijuana an illegal, Schedule 1 drug.

I’m also looking closely as I conclude my essay. I’m worried about two statements I make in my conclusion. First, when I list the other states that have legalized marijuana, I hope I’m not falling into a bandwagon fallacy. I will have to get some second opinions on this. Though, I’m really trying to say that if other states can figure this out, we can too.

Finally, I think I might have another either-or or false-dilemma fallacy here. In fact, I pretty much set this up as a fallacy with my language. There are other options here, and I think I’m going to have to be careful to put some kind of qualifier, as I don’t want to have fallacious logic, especially as my conclusion is the last thing my audience will remember about my argument.

I see I still have some work to do. I also see how easy it is to fall into a logical fallacy. I’m going to have to make some revisions and get some more feedback as I continue to revise my essay.

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