informal fallacy discussion forum essay main post 2 replies



One way to learn and retain the informal logical fallacies is to take a long and difficult exam, but let’s do someting different (I have tortured you with enough of those). I am a firm believer that we learn by doing, so for this discussion forum, I want you to make fallacies. Yes, you read it right; I want to read your best (or worst?) fallacious reasoning. One more time: I am asking your to purposefully make errors in logic in your essay. This is true.


Part I: Brief Essay Post

  • Choose a current issue in the news right now or a current issue in your major, and compose a brief argumentative essay (no more than 600 words) in which you make as many informal fallacies as you can. Do not use religion, gay marriage or abortion. A minimum of 5 fallacies are required, though the more you make, the better you may do on this assignment. Do not identify the fallacies, as your peers will be doing that in Part II.

To recap, this essay asks you to engage with an issue in the wrong way, to not use effective critical reasoning with regards to your subject, but to use critical reasoning with regards to illustrating that you fully comprehend a minimum of five fallacies. The goal is to think deeply about the fallacies as you study and apply them, then to never use them again! Actually, you will want to recognize and avoid them. Have fun, but make sure you are making the specific informal fallacies in the previous slide presentation.

  • Fallacies outside the ones presented in the slideshow will not be accepted.


  • Essay post must be in correct MLA format and style with a Works Cited page. At least two sources are required, though some of you may use more–just don’t overdo it, as the focus should be on demonstrating that you understand the fallacies. (I am hoping I see a few Appeals to False Authority…) When using sources, it’s a great time to make the Appeal to False Authority…
  • Place your word count at the end of the paper in parenthesis.
  • You must post before you can see anyone else’s post.
  • You may edit as you receive feedback, so if you wait too long to post, you will probably not receive helpful feedback in time to do so.

Part II: Participation

Choose TWO of your peers’ essays that HAVE NOT received a response (or only have one), read their essays, and complete the following for them (you may number your replies as they are listed below):

  1. Summarize the essay and identify the major claim/thesis. (no more than 2-3 sentences).
  2. Identify each fallacy by quoting and naming it. This can be in list form.
  3. Choose two of the fallacies and explain to the author what the fallacy is and how they might fix it. Be gentle, and pretend they did not do it on purpose.

Until the deadline, you may edit your essay as you receive and negotiate feedback from your peers. In addition, engage with your peers after these requirements have been met–I love a dynamic discussion forum (like the last one!) and appreciate students who do more than what is asked of them (if it is authentic).

  • Review rubric for grading criteria.
  • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. The longer you wait to post, the less time you will have to complete two quality responses.
  • Make sure you have followed all instructions and guidelines. Not doing so will significantly affect your grade. There are no acceptable excuses for errors in MLA.
  • Late responses will not be accepted under any circumstances.

These may help with some of the fallacies…watch, laugh, and take notes on the following short films:

Monty Python’s Argument Clinic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(6:08)

The Fallacy Project: Examples of Fallacies in the Media (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (6:25)

Logical Fallacies Part I (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(4:23)

Logical Fallacies Part II (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(4:16)