• Add to Collection
  • About

    About

    I asked my Image & Color Theory students to design a conceptually-driven poster that creatively conveys the basic essence of a logical fallacy in… Read More
    I asked my Image & Color Theory students to design a conceptually-driven poster that creatively conveys the basic essence of a logical fallacy in a way that is handsome, clear and memorable. A logical fallacy is simply an error in reasoning. Although logical fallacies are often considered the domain of philosophers and attorneys (those who are experts at argumentation), it is important for everyone to have at least some level of awareness with the basic rules of reason. Communication designers should also be aware of such principles so that we can make strong arguments for the clients, products and services we represent and so that we don’t drift toward the same unethical tactics so common within our industry. EXAMPLE: While searching for real-world examples of logical fallacies committed by those on both sides of the liberal/conservative divide,I came across this little gem on examiner.com: Can you spot all the fallacies? Glenn Beck has a problem. No, it's not that he's a recovering alcoholic or that he's been packing on the pounds ever since he started with FOX News last year. We all have our demons. Beck's problem is that he doesn't know how to argue with integrity. Read Less
    Published:
THE ASSIGNMENT:
I asked my Image & Color Theory students to design a conceptually-driven poster that creatively conveys the basic essence of a logical fallacy in a way that is handsome, clear and memorable.
 
A logical fallacy is simply an error in reasoning. Although logical fallacies are often considered the domain of philosophers and attorneys (those who are experts at argumentation), it is important for everyone to have at least some level of awareness with the basic rules of reason. Communication designers should also be aware of such principles so that we can make strong arguments for the clients, products and services we represent and so that we don’t drift toward the same unethical tactics so common within our industry.
 
Kristi Ho – Poisoning the Well
(Copy Reads): A preemptive attempt to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information, true or false, about the person.
 
Example: John takes his friend Frank, who is visiting from Australia, out for a nice dinner. When the waitress walks up to the table where they are sitting, Frank is stunned by her beauty. John notices this and says outloud to his friend, “Bro, don’t even try to impress this girl with your fake Australian accent.” Frank defends himself (in his Australian accent), “But I really am from Australia, mate!” The waitress smirks, “Yeah, right.”
 
 
 
Jeffrey Wolverton – Gambler's Fallacy
When someone assumes that the history of outcomes will affect future outcomes. Gambler’s often succumb to the fallacy in two ways, 1). When they think they’re on a “roll” and their hot streak will continue. and 2). When a certain result has been repeated several times that they are “due” for a change. Ex: "It's landed on black six times in row, so it’s got to fall on red this time. Hey Mr. Roulette dealer, I’m all in on red!"
 
 
Joanna Tang – Appeal to Authority
(Copy Reads): Appealing to status or authority to lend credence to a claim rather than the merits of the argument itself. For example: Albert Einstein says that eating a pound of bacon every day is good for your health. Do you think you know more than Albert Einstein?
 
 
 
Christian Dodson – Loaded Question
A question with a presumption built into it so that it can’t be answered without appearing guilty.
Attorney: I think the jury would just like to get a simple answer – yes or no, do you still have a drug problem?
Defendant: That’s not fair. I’ve never had a... 
Attorney: Yes or no, Mr. Smith!? (dramatic gasp from courtroom)
 
 
 
Nicholas Begley – Circular Reasoning
(Copy Reads): When an argument presupposes the truth of the conclusion. Example: Why do you think I am an idiot. Because you you are stupid. Why do you think I am stupid. Because you are an idiot.
 
 
 
Ryan Shivers – Hypocrite's Fallacy
(Copy Reads): The intent to discredit an opponent's position by revealing their failure to follow their own advice. For example: This personal trainer came up to me at the gym and tried to give me some advice. But why should I listen to him? He had a huge beer belly!
 
 
 
Jessica Zint – Ad Hominem
(Copy Reads): An attempt to disprove a claim with irrelevant personal attacks (true or false) against the one making the argument, instead of dealing with the merits of the argument itself. For example: We shouldn't believe Bob's testimony, after all, he failed fourth grade.
 
 
 
Sarah Congdon – Bald Man Fallacy / Fallacy of the Beard
When this poster is turned upside-down, the Bald Man Fallacy becomes the Fallacy of the Beard (see type in whiskers). Both fallacies illustrate the same concept. You can see the name of each fallacy in the beard and in the whiskers.
 
(Copy Reads):
Fred will never go bald.
If Fred loses one hair, that won’t make him go from hairy to bald. If he loses one more hair, he still won’t be bald. Since it's impossible to pinpoint exactly how many hairs he has to lose to become bald, he will never go bald.

Fred will never grow a beard.
If Fred lets his stubble grow for a day, it's still not a beard. Another day without shaving and it's just longer stubble. Since it is impossible to pinpoint how long it takes for stubble to become a beard, Fred will never grow one.
Also known as the Continuum Fallacy, this is an effort to unfairly reject a vague claim because it is not as precise as one might like. But being vague is not the same as being hopelessly vague. This fallacy disregards differences at opposite ends of a spectrum by asserting that they are the same because there is no specific point at which one becomes the other. The name comes from the question: “How many hairs must a man have on his chin before he has a beard?” It’s not exactly clear when whiskers become a beard, but it is clear that there is a real difference between a man with whiskers and a man with a beard.
 
Example:
Liz: I don’t think this painting should be in a museum – it’s not art, it’s just porn.
Nancy: Artists have been painting nudes for thousands of years. Is the Sistine Chapel porn?
Liz: Well, no. The human figure can be quite beautiful. Maybe art becomes porn when the nudity is sexual.
Nancy: Well then, I guess we just need to ban Picasso, Manet, Klimt...?
Liz: I woudn’t go that far.
Nancy: Then what makes it porn?
Liz: I don’t know, I just know it when I see it.
Nancy: See, there is no real difference – it’s all art. Don’t be so close-minded
 
(See detail images below)
Anna Price – Chronological Snobbery
(Copy Reads): The mindset that sees an idea, way of thinking, culture, art, or science of an earlier time as inferior, based solely on the assumption that whatever is newer is better. For example: "It is really hard for me to enjoy Medieval art – after all, these are people who didn't even have indoor plumbing."
 
 
 
Bianca Beltran – Middle Ground Fallacy
(German): Ein halber Hitler, ist immer noch Hitler.
(English): Half Hitler is still Hitler.
(Definition): The Middle Ground Fallacy assumes that the middle position between two extremes must be correct simply because it's the middle position.
 
 
 
Joshua Norvelle – Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
(Copy Reads): When random results are selectively emphasized to appear as if they have meaning when they really don't because the results are contrived. This fallacy gets its name from haphazardly shooting at the side of a barn, then drawing a bulls-eye around certain bullet holes. For example: A palm reader predicted ten different things about my future. Granted, most of them didn't come true-one offended, therefore, she must be the real deal.
 
 
 
Daniel Alvarez – Hot Dog Fallacy
(Copy Reads): When evidence presented in an argument is simply ignored and it is mistakenly thought that such a dismissal constitutes an adequate refutation of the argument. Similar to the old adage, "Ignorance is bliss."
Ex: Deep down grandma knew something was wrong, but she told herself that as long as she didn’t go to the doctor, she would never get diagnosed with cancer.
 
 
 
Eric Cuellar – Line Drawing Fallacy
(Copy Reads): Arguing that no real difference exists whenever a clear distinction cannot be drawn between two extremes. For example: Chimpanzees should be given the same legal rights as humans since we gradually evolved from apes along and uninterrupted continuum.