Logical Fallacies

Short story: “Love is a Fallacy” by Max Shulman (written in the 1950’s)

Short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

Key Vocabulary terms

  • Argument: A conclusion together with the premises that support it.
  • Premise: A reason offered as support for another claim.
  • Conclusion: A claim that is supported by a premise.
  • Valid: An argument whose premises genuinely support its conclusion.
  • Unsound: An argument that has at least one false premise.
  • Fallacy: An argument that relies upon faulty reasoning.
  • Booby-trap: An argument that, while not a fallacy itself, might lead an inattentive reader to commit a fallacy.


Handout 1

Sample Fallacies and Teacher’s Answer Guide












Playlist of logical fallacies

West Wing scene – After it, therefore, because of it – don’t simply assume that because one thing follows another, the first thing caused the second thing to happen. A classic scene from the second episode of The West Wing, where Jed Bartlett implies that the reason he lost Texas was because he believed Texans would never elect a president who spoke latin.

Dodge Charger Ad – Slippery slope. It’s not logical to assume that self-parking cars will lead to robots harvesting our bodies.

South Park “You Hate Children” – False choice

Friend’s – Joey’s Fridge – Post Hoc

South Park – the Chewbacca Defense – Red herring (*language)

“Seven” campaign ad for Barak Obama – Red herring. It starts by claiming Mccain doesn’t understand the fundamentals of the economy. But then it diverts attention from the economy to how many houses he owns.

2:53-4:07 SNL’s “You Lie” – the bandwagon fallacy

0:39-0:46 Tom Cruise on Psychiatry –  false authority. he claims to have done research, but he is not an authority on the subject.

Sony Commercial – appeal to false authority

Big Bang Theory’s Superman Argument

Big Bang Theory – post hoc ergo propter hoc

Direct TV commercials – slippery slope

Mean Girls – Hasty generalization?

Big Bang Theory – reductio ad absurdum




As a group activity, have students “sell” a product* using as many fallacies as they can. Encourage students to go overboard here to make the fallacies as outrageous and therefore transparent as possible.   While (or after) each group presents, the other class members should try to identify the fallacies. An option is to keep score and award a prize to the “team” naming the most fallacies or naming them the fastest.