Fallacies of Argumentation (Spock to the Hand)

We all know that teens love to argue. Give ‘em the right topic and the room’s temperature will rise as the debate quickly gets heated. The trick, though, is to help them clarify their thinking, move beyond emotion, and spot the difference between logical and illogical reasoning.

In the world of rhetoric, speakers and writers too often take logical leaps as they work to sway an audience. The astute listener is able to set aside the manipulations and see an issue clearly. That’s what I want for my students.

To help them cut through tangled reasoning, I packed a Prezi lecture with modern examples of logical fallacies from politics, pop culture, and advertising. There are dozens (and dozens!) of types of fallacies, but I narrowed my focus to 10 of the most common, including:
Hasty Generalization
Faulty Causality
Either/Or (False Dichotomy)
Slippery Slope
Sentimental Appeal
Scare Tactics
Appeal to False Authority
Ad Hominem
Straw Man

Take, for instance, this silly Slippery Slope ad campaign from Direct TV:

Or how about a discussion of Appeal to False Authority featuring Peyton Manning and Justin Timberlake?

Click here to take a closer look at my print-and-teach materials for this Tools of Argument/Logical Fallacies lesson.

In building this lesson, I also came across the talented and cheeky Jesse over at, who generously provides this classroom poster as a FREE high-res download over at his site:

You’ll need to cover the cost of printing, but I’m thinking this one’s worth a trip to Kinko’s.

Teach on, everyone!

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Collyn Ware
Collyn Ware
8 years ago

Have you read “Love is a Fallacy” by Max Shulman? My students really like to read that short story while we learn about fallacies.

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Collyn Ware

Thanks for the suggestion, Collyn. I don’t know this story, but it looks great. Will dig into it more deeply this weekend.

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