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Qué Son las Falacias

Have you heard the fallacious term? Can something said by an important or recognized person be considered empirical? The Dictionary of the Spanish language defines the concept of fallacy as deception, fraud or lie. The fallacy is a reasoning or argument that appears to be correct or valid, however, although it claims to be convincing or persuasive, it is not.

In logic, a fallacy refers to the arguments that are used to defend something that is not valid. Sometimes fallacies are committed out of ignorance and not because they are intentional. Fallacies date back to the time of Aristotle who identified and classified a large number of them.

When it comes to debating a particular topic, well-founded arguments are used to validate what you want to prove, demonstrate or defend. If one of the people who is debating does not prepare well, it may be that among their possible “logical” arguments they use some fallacy.

The same thing happens in argumentative texts. Using an argumentative fallacy, with or without intention, can nullify the thesis and even invalidate the text in its entirety. Below we list the five most frequent fallacies so that you avoid incurring in these when debating or arguing.

  1. of generalization – when a point or the positions of different experts on a particular topic are explained in a general way without offering details or specific data, the argument is weakened. For example, many studies indicate that environmental pollution…
  2. of authority – when arguing by citing or using authorities that have nothing to do with the subject to reinforce and/or strengthen ideas or reasoning, the statement lacks validity.
  3. direct attack – with this type of fallacy it is intended to disavow or incapacitate the contender in the face of what is being debated. For example, “You are not the right person to talk about marriage because you have never been married.”
  4. of false cause – this can occur when the reasons used to defend a thesis do not prove the argument because their circumstantial relationship generates some confusion. That is, instilling that the cause of an event is the product of something that happened before, without offering data or statistics that validate or confirm it.
  5. of false analogy – consists of making a comparison between two terms or postulates that share a certain similarity, however the characteristics that are being compared are wrong and lead to the position or thesis being weakened. For example, establish that all technological teams that have operating systems can solve complex problems regardless of their type of function.

Try to identify the type of fallacy in the following sentences:

  1. You are not a woman, therefore you cannot comment on abortion.
  2. Many people agree that marijuana be legalized for recreational use.
  3. Latin American countries can resolve the armed conflicts that occur in Europe.
  4. A country is like a building, if the foundations are strong and resistant, what was built will never collapse.


By Linda Ojeda

Also read:  The Variety of the Spanish Language

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