AWA Arg — frequently made logical errors

A valid argument is a statement that fits into a logical pettern of reasoning and that includes relevant, verifiable evidence supporting a conclusion.
論證題常見的邏輯思維上的謬誤(common unsound arguments):
  • 證據不足或者沒有代表性(insufficent or unrepresentative evidence):在證據不足以代表全體的情況下,就匆忙作判斷(overgeneralization, hasty generalization),且推論到全部的情況(all cases rather than a select few),即以偏概全、以寡論多。譬如,你有兩隻貓從來不捉老鼠,而你下結論說「全世界的貓都不會抓老鼠」,那你的論證就犯了 hasty generalization 的毛病。(參閱 Arg #92–Apex 範文)。分析這類題型的錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. The argument is absed on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence (hasty generalization) …
    2. The argument does not provide enough information to support such a generalization …
    3. The problem with the argument is that the examples or anecdotes are asserted to apply to all cases rather than a select few …
    4. The author makes a logical connection between … and … but he/she does not supply enough information to support its generalization …
  • 過度簡單化(oversimplification):故意簡化問題,凡事不是 good 就是 bad,不是 right 就是 wrong,東西不是 clean 就是 dirty,不是 white 就是 black,常常忽略中間的價值。使讀者認為問題只有兩面 (either or ),不去思考中間的灰色地帶。(參閱 Arg #87–citrus fruit 柑橘類水果 範文 )。分析這類型的錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. The writer attemp to convince the reader that the issue has only two sides–one right, one wrong(either/or)…
    2. One problem with the argument is that it fails to consider the fact that …
    3. Because the argument leaves several key factors, it is not sound or persuasive …
    4. The argument is mainly flawed because it overlooks certain major considerations …
    5. What works for X will not necessarily work for Y …
  • 錯誤的類比 (faulty or misleading analogy):由於兩個事物的相似性,可由ㄧ物的特點,推知另ㄧ物的特點。現在以最簡單的例子說明之:我的新褲子與我的舊褲子是在同ㄧ家店買的,我的舊褲子耐穿,所以我的新褲子也將耐穿。像這樣的論證:這兩個事物是相似的,是兩條褲子。這裡包含三種類比:(1)兩者實物(entities)都是褲子;(2)兩個實物都是從同ㄧ個店裡買的;(3)穿的很久。前兩點都是出現在前提中,第三點則是斷言的結論。因此,這個論證可以敘述為:斷言兩個事物有相同的前提及斷言他們有相同的結論。但是並非每個類比論證都恰好關係到兩個真正地相似的事物。有時表面看起來相似,但實際上並非真的相似,若真要比較,很容易陷入「錯誤類比」的陷阱裡。譬如打乒乓球與打高爾夫球雖然都是球類運動,但前者是平民運動而後者是貴族運動,兩者運動人口相差懸殊,兩者若比較,立足點不平等,易犯類比上的錯誤。(參閱 Arg #100–Take heart fitness center) 分析這類型錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. Arguing that X is as … as Y is a faulty analogy.
    2. The argument wrongly assumes that X and Y are analogous.
    3. I wonder whether th comprison of two things suggests that they are similar when they are , in fact, distinctly different.
    4. What works for X will not necessarily work for Y.
    5. Are the analogies accurate and relevant.
  • 錯誤地解釋或誤用統計數字(misinterpreted statistics):作者故意誤解或誤用統計數字,使讀者忽略問題的真正癥結處。(參閱 Arg #108–Lovin’ cupful 連鎖店) 分析這類型的錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. The argument makes a seemingly attractive claim, but its persuasive force is seriously weakened by the misinterpretation of its statistics.
    2. The author fails to interpret those statistics correctly.
    3. We need to ask whether those statistics fully represent (accurately describe).
  • 不合邏輯的推論 (not a logical result)/ 無關的或無法檢驗的論點 (irrelevant or unverifiable point):提出無法檢驗的論點,如 #73 的 myth (神話、虛構的故事、荒誕的說法) ‘a belief, opinion, or theory that is not based on fact or reality’ 會轉移考生對主題的注意力。此外,提出的結論(stated conclusion) 並不ㄧ定是依據所提出的前提或事實。譬如,讀者投書,有些讀者所提的意見是依據個人的臆測 (speculation) 或是假設 (hypothesis) ,而非依據具有系統的科學研究的結果或是依據政府或民間研究機構所公佈的資訊或依據,這樣的推論難免前後不ㄧ貫,造成不合邏輯。(參閱 #103—Bayview high school ,及 #19–財經雜誌的意見欄) 分析這類型的錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. An irrelevant point is introduced to divert the reader’s attention from the main issue.
    2. The stated conclusion is not necessarily a logical result of the facts presented.
    3. The writer is trying to pass his speculative theory off as incontrovertible fact.
    4. The argument is based on the writer’s own speculation rather than on the result of a study or on a government-released information.
    5. The argument is invalid (problematic, weak, flawed) because its assumption (premise) that … is highly questionable.
    6. The argument is unwarranted because it rests on the questionable (unsound) assumption (premise) that … .
  • 切勿把事件發生的時間先後順序視為因果關係,也就是不可認為「發生於其後者必然為其結果」(拉丁原文為 post hoc ergo propter hos, 譯成英語:after this, therefore because of this.  其意為:it follows, therefore it caused.) (參閱 Arg #106—Ready-to-Ware 軟體公司) 分析這類錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. The most hoc fallacy makes the argument invalid.
    2. The author (writer) assumes that because one event follows another in time, the first event caused the second. In other words, he mistakes a temporal connection for a causal connection.
    3. There is no proof of a direct-cause relationship between X and Y.
  • 切勿把泛指或抽象化的觀念視為有指,加以實體化 (hypostatization) 。要特別小心作者若使用下列詞語:Sociology shows us…, Literature illustrates…, Science proves…, History has taught us…, Research indicates that…, A study (survey) shows that…,因為社會學、文學、科學、歷史、研究等都有相當多的種類,代表許多不同的意見,因而意見不易一致,切勿以為是表達同ㄧ意見,支持並同意作者的論證。考生若在分析寫作試題上,見到這些詞語,應問是什麼文學、什麼科學、什麼或誰的研究、什麼或誰的調查。(What literature, what science, what research, whose research, what survey, whose survey) 分析這類型的錯誤,可用下列句子:
    1. An abstract concept is used as if it were concrete reality.
    2. The credibility of the study (survey, research) is in doubt. If the study is conducted by a reliable institution such as Gallup, the argument will be more convincing.




  • Avoid run on sentences they are hard to read.
  • No sentence fragment.
  • It behooves us to avoid archaisms.
  • Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: Resist hyperbole.
  • Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
  • Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  • Avoid trendy locution that sound flaky.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles should not be used.
  • Kill all exclamation points!!!
  • Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  • Take the bull by the hand*, and don’t mix metaphors.
  • Don’t verb nouns.
  • Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.


The 7 Nevers:

  1. Never begin a sentence with "and" or "but".
  2. Never use contraction.
  3. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
  4. Never split an infinitive.
  5. Never refer to the reader as "you".
  6. Never use the first-person pronoun I.
  7. Never write a paragraph containing only a single sentence.

* take the bull by the horns. ‘face difficulties fearlessly’


About alwayscola18

*Always be misunderstood. *Majored in business administration, but contributing to satisfaction of primary living needs. *Prefer to speak out, and enjoy silence. *A Mandarin speaker, but not a grand-China nationalist; a Hokkien dialect speaker, but not an aggressive grass-root activist; an English reader, but not negative to my homeland; a baby Christian, but not a confrontationist to the God of earth. *With personalities of patience, cleverness, discernment, toleration, self-confidence, and friendliness.
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