Logical Fallacies as a Way to Win Arguments

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When writing an argumentative essay, it is important that one gets their point across while making sure the argument is sound and credible. An argument is meant to stir conversation and settle differences between ideas. However, when an argument contains one or multiple logical fallacies, the foundation and effectiveness of the argument may be brought into question. A logical fallacy is an error present in an argument that compromises the validity of said argument. There are several logical fallacies, but three prominent ones include bandwagon, false dichotomy, and hasty generalization.

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When a child gets in trouble for blindly following others, their parents normally ask them a question along the lines of, “If your friend jumps off a bridge, would you jump in after them?” Insisting on doing something because others are doing it too is the basic idea behind the bandwagon fallacy. This could be present in an argument as, “Many people are doing this specific thing this way, so it must be the correct way.” Of course, this is not always the case, and the majority rule does not truly help a person prove a point. People are good at making mistakes, even in large groups where everyone agrees. Claiming something as true because others did as well can lead to error, which will surely worsen an argument.

If someone were to say, “You’re either with me, or you’re against me,” they would practically be defining false dichotomy. If false dichotomy is present in argument, it limits the readers or listeners to only two distinct possibilities. However, there are almost always multiple scenarios for every topic. When presenting an argument, it’s important that one not only explains both or all sides of an argument, but that they provide examples for all claims as well. Even though many people like to think that their way is the only way to do things, the reality is there are different sides to every story, every argument, every discussion, and so on. Therefore, it is vital to keep false dichotomy out of an argument in order to cover all sides and keep things reasonable.

If someone were to make an entire claim based on a minimal number of incriminating incidents, they would be using hasty generalization. This fallacy is often present in arguments and everyday life, as when people feel they have been wronged or offended by someone or something, they tend to lash out at those that are grouped with that specific person/thing. This fallacy is similar to the idea of stereotyping, and it is known that stereotypes are not true for everyone. A good example of hasty generalization is believing a product is bad because a few people gave it a negative review, even though there are others who loved said product. There are other examples of this fallacy that are more along the lines of misguided positivity, such as the idea that a few amazing coincidences means someone is incredibly lucky. Hasty generalization in an argument can make others question its credibility, and it should therefore be avoided.

In order to “win” an argument, the argument must be thought provoking and include reliable information and ideas. However, if the argument contains logical fallacies, the writer will not effectively prove his or her point to the audience. Eliminating all logical fallacies from an argument, especially the ones mentioned above, will ensure the argument is valid. If an argument is reasonable, the writer will have a better chance at winning over the audience, which is the main purpose of an argument. 

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