7 Informal Logic Bingo

Instructions: Use the LOGIC bingo card when listening to communications between others people or you and others.  These communications can be by any means – in person, video, internet forums, email, maybe Twitter, and others.  If you do not encounter enough logically strong instances, then you can provide them in actual communication as your instances.  Do not do the same with logically weak forms. If you are lacking in any of those, well just look harder!  Fallacies are everywhere.  You can rely on a memory of a fallacy in personal experience in a pinch. Complete the LOGIC Bingo card by any five forms in a row: across, down or diagonal.  Turn in your card for credit and with it provide a separate analysis of each of the forms that you identified, describing the instance and explaining how it is a genuine instance of that form.


Logically Strong

Reasoned argument: at least one statement (premise) given in support of another related statement (conclusion).

Reasoned explanation: One or more statements (explanans) given as clarification of another related statement (explanandum).

Relevant question: An interrogative sentence that poses a line of inquiry into an issue. An effective relevant question can actually establish the issue of inquiry.

Relevant Definition: A clarification of what is meant by the use of a word or phrase.

Relevant Paraphrase: Restating a claim in different words for the sake of clarity.

Relevant example: A description of a situation that serves to clarify an issue, meaning, explanation

Clarifying the issue: Language used to seek agreement on what issue is under consideration in a particular communication. Note – lack of clarity about issues is one of the major causes of conflict.

Active listening: Listening to others in a way that actively seeks the genuine meaning of what they are saying.

Principle of Charity: Interpreting the arguments and positions of others in the logically strongest forms.

Testing one’s own claims: Asking yourself what you accept as evidence for your thoughts and beliefs (i.e., claims). More important, asking yourself what you would accept as evidence against your thoughts and beliefs.  Unwillingness to test one’s own claims leads to a position of infallibalism.



Logically Weak

Tu Quoque: Rejecting a claim or position by asserting or implying that the person or people that hold it are not consistent to it.  This is the “You Too!” or “The other side is just as bad” fallacy.

Argumentum ad Hominem: Rejecting a claim or position based on the assertion of other claims that evaluate the person or people holding the claim, rather than weakness in the claim or position itself.

Poisoning the Well: Rejecting a claim or position based on asserted motives, interests, reputations, or discrediting facts about people holding the claim or position. It may be a type of Ad Hominem, but is so frequently used in political discourse that it merits it’s own status.

Argumentum ad Ignoratum: Accepting a claim or position based on the asserted (or perceived) lack of evidence against it. This is the “I can’t think of any reason why not” or “I cant think of any other explanation” fallacy. Look carefully and you will find ad ignoratum implicit in many positions.

Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc: Event A occurred, then event B occurred, therefore, A caused B. The Latin means – This after that therefore this because of that.

Equivocation: Using different meanings of a word in an argument without recognizing the change in meanings.

Counterfactual Conditional: “If you don’t like X, then Y…”

Strawman: Interpreting the arguments and positions of others in their logically weakest forms.

Infallibilism: Unwilliness to test one’s own claims; a position that no possible evidence could couny against your own thoughts and beliefs. Example: “There is no other explanation!” or “No reasonable person could disagree with me.”

Changing the issue: It may be more difficult to find a situation in which people in discussion stay on an issue at a sustained level. Do your best to identify a specific issue then watch as the debate flies all over.

“I am sick and tied of X”  – OK, so does anything logically follows from that unfortunate condition?  If not, what should we call this one;  Argumentum ad Morbus (appeal to illness)?

Argumentum ad Populum: Accepting a claim or position based on popular support for it.

Onus probandi: Shifting the burden of proof.

Argumentum ad lapidem: Latin for – Appeal to the Stone. Rejecting a claim as absurd or ridiculous without demonstrating proof for its absurdity.

Petitio Principii: Asserting the conclusion of an argument as a premise in support of the conclusion.  This is the actual fallacy of Begging the Question, a phrase that is commonly misused as meaning “raising the question.”  Paraphrase is often used as a means to implement Petitio Principii.

Argumentum ad Nauseum: Asserting a claim repeatedly without providing additional support.

There is nothing illogical about repeating a claim