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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Logical fallacies


Ever get the feeling that someone’s argument is a bit off, but you can’t put your finger on why? Feel like the evidence a politician uses is not enough for the claim they are making? Want to know why when your uncle says "reading something online means it’s true" it is actually a bad argument? What's the name for these things? You need logical fallacies.

Logical fallacies are used all the time: to make arguments that don’t have the right evidence, to claim a relationship between two unrelated things and to attack people's characters instead of their claims. Logical fallacies are really common and generally reveal poor critical thinking. People have been talking about logical fallacies since the days of the Ancient Greece. It's not just social media that spreads bad ideas through the world, it is a human problem.

Understanding and identifying commonly used fallacies will help you to critically analyse claims people make. Whether the claims come from a journal article, news item, opinion piece or an annoying relative, knowing a flawed argument when you hear it will help you in many areas of your life.

The following pages will help you to spot a logical fallacy.

Common fallacies

An overview of five common fallacies, with a quiz to test your knowledge. Time to complete 25 minutes

Poor use of evidence

Five examples of how poor use of evidence creates fallacies. Includes a quiz. Time to complete 25 minutes

Feelings not facts

These fallacies are misusing facts and sometimes using feelings instead. Includes a quiz. Time to complete 25 minutes

Critical thinking activity

Practise your critical thinking skills and spot the flawed logic. Time to complete 10 minutes

Yellow person shruging with a question mark over their head.