The seven "common logical fallacies" are Hasty Generalization, Sweeping Generalization, Ad Hominem (argument to the person), Non Sequitur, Either/Or Fallacy, and Begging the Question.
Explain why you should avoid the seven common logical fallacies when you write about literature.
The common logical fallacies, listed below (and listed in the question), should be avoided while writing about literature:
- Hasty Generalization: Basing the assumptions/conclusions on a very small sample, such as stereotypes. Example: "It rains a lot in Seattle and my friend from Portland also complains of a lot about the rain. The West Coast must be very rainy." Here a broad conclusion has been drawn from only two samples.
- Sweeping Generalization: Also called dicto simpliciter. A general rule is treated as universal truth irrespective of the situation. This is somewhat opposite to hasty generalization as the general rule is made from a specific case. Example: "Divorces are very common these days, honey. 50% of marriages end in divorces in the first three years. So, I cannot marry you."
- Ad Hominem: An attack on the person. Arguments based on a person's failure rather than judging the merits or demerits of the case. Example: "Mark suggested I buy an iPhone for my son's birthday. He's ugly and fat, why should I listen to him?"
- Non Sequitur: Argument where the conclusion does not flow logically from the premise. Example: "If you love me, buy me a house."
- Either/Or Fallacy: A choice among two extremes, with no middle ground. Example: "Either George Bush loses the election or I am migrating to Canada."
- Begging the Question: An argument with no real evidence to support the conclusion that one just has to accept; or the same argument is repeated again and again. Example: "Life in Hollywood is simply tough."
There are a number of other fallacies also that should be avoided as well. Examples of other fallacies are Celebrity Appeal, slippery slope, Post Hoc, Red Herring, etc.
Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning and/or connecting ideas and can undermine the focus of someone's work. One should not only be careful in avoiding these in his own work, but should also be capable of finding them in the work of others, especially while researching, so that only valid arguments and works are used in your own study. It is important to note that sometimes logical fallacies are intentionally (and skillfully) used to influence the audience (say for political speech or marketing purposes, etc.); they undermine the credibility of scholarly work and need to be avoided. The ability to avoid logical fallacies in one's work will enable the person to make better arguments and speeches. The ability to detect logical fallacies in others' work will enable a person to become a better critic and reviewer of articles, theses, etc.