What are the fallacy files?

I began collecting and studying logical fallacies about forty years ago, when I first became interested in logic. This collection took two forms:

  1. A collection of named fallacies—such as "ad hominem"—that is, types of bad reasoning which someone has thought distinctive and interesting enough to name and describe. This collection took the form, primarily, of the study and acquisition of books and articles on the named fallacies, especially textbooks and reference books. You can find individual files on the named fallacies via the Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies, or from the alphabetical index in the scroll bar to your left.
  2. A collection of fallacious, or otherwise bad, arguments, that is, examples of reasoning which may commit one or more of the named fallacies under 1, or are bad in some way yet to be classified. This collection took the form of clippings from newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, photocopies of pages of books, and—in a few rare cases—entire articles or books which were rich sources of bad reasoning. I have used selections from my collection as examples in many of the files on named fallacies, and additional examples can be found in the file: Stalking the Wild Fallacy.

Some years after I began to amass these files, I wondered just what I ought eventually to do with them, how best to organize the information within them, and in what form to make them available to others interested in fallacy studies. The present hypertext web version, The Fallacy Files, was first published on March 11th, 2001, and is the result of this score of years of research and fieldwork on the fallacies.

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Contribute to The Fallacy Files

You can contribute fallacies and examples to the files by sending them to me. Examples that can be documented in some way are preferable to anecdotes. Comments, questions, and suggestions are also always welcome.

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Email Policy

Any examples sent to The Fallacy Files or questions asked may be used in entries, the weblog, or other features. I will acknowledge the contributor of examples or questions unless otherwise instructed. If you do not want a submission attributed to you, please let me know in the email in which you send it.

In the over nineteen years of this website's existence, I have received very few uncivil emails. Nonetheless, my policy is to neither answer nor acknowledge the receipt of any such email. If you can't disagree with me without being impolite or disrespectful, don't bother writing.

I try to answer all civil email, but due to the volume―especially of spam―and other responsibilities, I may be slow in doing so. If you do not receive a reply from me, please check your spam filter to be sure that you are not blocking my email. I appreciate your taking the time and trouble to write.

Advertisement Policy

Advertisements help support the continuing mission of The Fallacy Files to rid the universe of fallacious arguments, and readers can help support that mission by visiting those advertisers. However, The Fallacy Files does not endorse the products or books advertised on this site. I try to keep ads as unobtrusive as possible, so I do not accept pop-ups, whether over or under, or banners. Also, there are no links to ads from within the content of the site. It should always be easy to tell where the content of The Fallacy Files leaves off and ads begin.

I provide Amazon links to books for a number of reasons: Sometimes I endorse the books, but sometimes I link to a book that I disagree with so that readers can easily check what I say about it. This is an extension of the scholarly practice of citing sources, since sometimes the easiest, fastest, or only way to check a citation to a book is to purchase it. Other times I link to books that I haven't read or disagree with so that readers can find an alternative point of view. Thus, an Amazon link to a book should not be taken as an endorsement, but any purchase you make through such a link will help support The Fallacy Files. Thank you for your continued support!

If you are interested in advertising to a smart readership interested in logical fallacies, cognitive biases, statistical errors, logic puzzles, and new books on these and related issues, please let me know. Also, let me know if you see any apparent violations of these policies.

Revised: 4/23/2020