Of fallacy and the rhetorical “booby trap”

We’re adding a new icon to our ratings arsenal.

We use fallacy icons and descriptions from yourlogicalfallacyis.com because that site did a great deal of good work designing fallacy icons—work we’d have ended up doing otherwise.   Yourlogicalfallacyis.com also provides simplified descriptions of the fallacies well-suited to readers new to analyzing rhetoric in terms of logic.

We use a variety of other sources to inform our logical analyses, and one of our favorites, Fallacy Files (fallacyfiles.org), provides a description of a very common feature of political rhetoric, the “booby trap”:


A linguistic snare which is not itself fallacious, but may cause someone to inadvertently commit a fallacy. For instance, an ambiguous or vague sentence is not in and of itself fallacious, since it is not an argument, but it may cause somebody to infer a false conclusion.


Politicians love to use speech filled with logical booby traps. From this point forward we’ll distinguish fallacious political statements from non-fallacious ones that encourage the audience to think fallaciously.

Booby Trap

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