Yes, there are various logical fallacies, and advertisers frequently exploit them to encourage you to buy a specific product or service. However, as a serious writer, you should avoid using logical fallacies since most readers will see through your thin arguments and, as a result, refuse to take your work seriously.
Logical fallacies are reasoning mistakes that are founded on flawed logic. They can lead you to lose your credibility as a writer if given in a formal argument, so be wary of them. Logical fallacies include: ad hominem attack, appeal to authority, argument from ignorance, circular reasoning, and straw man argument.
An ad hominem attack is when your opponent's character is used against him or her. It means accusing someone of something related to their character rather than their views. For example, if someone has been accused of sexual harassment/assault and writes an article criticizing women's rights, this would be an ad hominem attack because they are not being criticized for their views but for the person themselves. Ad hominem attacks should never be used in academic settings.
An appeal to authority is when you use someone else's opinion to support your own view. For example, if I were to say "The president is a liar," this would be an appeal to authority since he is lying then must be false. Appeals to authority are usually not good ideas unless you are trying to show that someone is right or wrong based on what other people think. In this case, it would be acceptable because we know that presidents tend to tell the truth so it is reasonable to assume that this particular president is telling the truth when he says he isn't.
Why should you avoid logical errors? Even if some of your other ideas are logically sound, a reader who identifies a mistake in your reasoning is unlikely to be persuaded by your argument. You invalidate yourself and undermine your own case by employing erroneous logic.
In conclusion, logical errors should not be used in essays because they make the essay confusing and unreadable. Also, readers will not accept your arguments as valid if you use incorrect reasoning.
Sometimes authors may utilize logical fallacies on purpose to make an argument appear more compelling or valid than it is. There are many types of logical fallacies, but they can be divided into three main categories: formal, informal, and dialectical.
Formal fallacies are presented in textbooks as part of a lesson on logical fallacies. These include examples such as the Ad Hominem (against the person), Affirmative Action, Bandwagon Fallacy, Begging the Question, Circling Questions, Double Standard, False Dilemma, Generalization/Specification, Herd Behavior, Hypocrisy, Illicit Argument from Emotion, Ironic Taunt, Labeling, Legalism, Lottery Theory, Manipulative Example, Moral Equivalence, Omission Bias, Precautionary Principle, Privilege, Punning, Red Herring, Straw Man, Sunk Cost, Tactic, Undue Influence, and Victim Bias.
Informal fallacies are not listed in textbooks but are still important to know when arguing with others.
Fallacies obstruct the free, two-way exchange of ideas that is essential for effective interactions. Rather than employing rigorous logic, these fallacies confuse your readers with an abundance of rhetorical appeals. Logical fallacies can be used in both written and vocal communication.
When communicating in writing, you will often come across logical fallacies. These are mistakes in argumentation that deceive or distract the reader from the truth. They include:
Accusing someone of a fallacy when they have not been accused of it.
Ad hominem attacks - raising objections against a person rather than their argument.
Agnosticism - refusing to commit to any view on a topic.
Appeal to authority - relying on what others think or say; could be a scientific paper, a book, or a website that many people trust.
Begging the question - assuming that something's conclusion is true just because you want to argue that it does or doesn't follow.
Circular reasoning - repeating steps in an argument but starting from different facts or assumptions; may or may not be clear to the reader.
Confusion - using language that is unclear or lacks precision; may lead readers to jump to conclusions without considering all the facts.
Prevent logic errors and ideological reasoning in your writing to avoid undermining the emphasis of your issue. As a writer, you should avoid these logical fallacies in your own work and keep an eye out for them in other people's thoughts and arguments, especially while conducting research. Using logic and reason correctly is crucial to any argument because they are the tools that allow us to reach conclusions about reality.
Using fallacies in your argument shows that you have not thought through your case properly, which can lead to confusing or misleading others. Also, if someone detects that you have used a fallacy in your argument, they will know that you have not dealt with their concerns honestly and openly - instead you have simply ignored them. This does not help the discussion nor does it make your point accurately. Finally, using fallacies shows that you are not thinking critically about other people's views or ideas. You are not considering different perspectives or points of view but you are simply going with what first comes to mind when arguing a case.
So, why is it important to avoid using fallacies in an argument? First of all, by avoiding them we are showing that we have considered other people's views and have tried to understand their points of view, even if we disagree with them. This demonstrates respect for others and helps create better discussions and debates. Secondly, by not using fallacies we are being honest with ourselves and our opinions.
Advertising is the most prevalent area where we see persuasive prose. Sometimes it's the brief words of a television commercial informing us how much better our lives will be if we purchase a specific product. Sometimes it's the longer "advertorials"—advertisements disguised as articles—in newspapers or magazines. And of course, there are web ads trying to get us to click on links to other websites.
Persuasive writing is also common in political campaigns. Each side of an argument strives to make its case as clearly and persuasively as possible, so that the audience will vote their position.
Scientists also use persuasive language in scientific papers when they try to convince others of the validity of their findings or conclusions.
Finally, lawyers use persuasive language in court filings, letters, and at hearings to get their points across to judges or juries.
In all these contexts, successful writers must be able to discern the right tone for the situation and then use precise words to convey that tone.
There are several methods for establishing credibility in persuasive writing and making your message trustworthy to your audience.