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Phil 105: Practical Reasoning — Fall 2019

Study Guide for Exam 2

Exam two will be held in class, Thursday, November 7, 2019.

For the multiple choice portion of the exam (around 60%), be prepared to recognize instances of, and answer questions regarding, the fallacies, biases and additional key concepts listed here.

Informal fallacies



Appeal to force (ad baculum)

Appeal to ignorance (ad ignorantiam)

Appeal to pity (ad misericordiam)

Appeal to the people (ad populum)

Appeal to unqualified authority (ad verecundiam)

Arguing against the person (ad hominem)

Begging the question

Complex question




False cause

False dichotomy

Hasty generalization

Missing the point (ignoratio elenchi)

Red herring

Slippery slope

Straw figure (straw man)

Suppressed evidence

Weak analogy

Cognitive biases

Anchoring effect

Availability bias

Confirmation bias

Conjunction fallacy

Framing effect

Fundamental attribution error

Hindsight bias

Overconfidence effect

Sunk-cost effect

Additional key concepts

Cognitive bias

Collective predication

Distributive predication

Formal fallacy


Informal fallacy

For the remaining portion (40%), be prepared to answer to following six short-answer questions. The exam will contain some but not all of these. Your answer for each should be about a paragraph in length.

  1. What is the difference between a formal and an informal fallacy? Why do some consider the notion of an informal fallacy puzzling? What do you think?
  2. Why do some people think there is a puzzle about what makes begging the question fallacious? What proposals to address this puzzle seem most obvious? What do you think?
  3. Why have some instructors questioned the wisdom of teaching informal fallacies and fallacy theory in reasoning courses? What responses could be given? What do you think?
  4. What is a heuristic, and how are heuristics related to the topic of cognitive biases? Do you think heuristics are commonplace in reasoning? Why or why not?
  5. What is one of the major challenges or doubts that have been expressed about the heuristics and biases approach to understanding cognition and errors in cognition? Do you agree? Why or why not?
  6. What kinds of steps have been proposed for avoiding cognitive biases? Do you think such steps are necessary, or likely to be successful? Explain your answer.

© 2024 Kevin C. Klement