Sign up ×
Philosophy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for those interested in logical reasoning. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If one were to reason that most poor people worry about money and most UBER-wealthy people don't worry about money, and they want to be UBER-wealthy, than they should simply not worry about money...

I feel like there are two types of processing going on here...

•That they think that 1 thing alone can lead to another
•That they are seeing an effect of a cause and thinking that they can work backwards starting with the effect and get to the cause.

I am interested in what you would call the latter of the two issues I pointed out above... What is this type of faulty reasoning called?

Thankyou, God bless!

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If they are wealthy then they don't worry about money
they don't worry about money
Then they are wealthy.

This is "affirming the consequent" fallacy.
1) If P, then Q.
2) Q.
3) Therefore, P.

An argument of this form is invalid, the conclusion can be false even when statements 1 and 2 are true. Since P was never asserted as the only sufficient condition for Q, other factors could account for Q. To put it differently, if P implies Q, the only inference that can be made is non-Q implies non-P.

share|improve this answer
@AlbertRenshaw It is sometimes called "modus morons". –  Dennis Feb 27 '13 at 2:22

There are fallacies galore here.

Number one: Appeal to authority. "The poor worry. The rich don't worry". Says who? This is totally contrary to everything I know about the behaviour of people.

Number two: Not understanding causality. The claim is that there is a 100% correlation between poverty and worries. That doesn't mean that one of them can be changed at will. Actually, it makes it unlikely that one of them can be changed at will. If that correlation were 100% (which it isn't, see number one), we would all suspect that when you are rich, there is nothing that could make you worry, and when you are poor, there is nothing that can stop you from worrying. We wouldn't believe that you could stop worrying at will and become rich that way. We would instead believe that a rich person wasting their money would become poor and start worrying, and that a poor person starting a successful business or winning the lottery would become rich and stop worrying. Not the other way round.

Number three (already pointed out), "affirming the consequent". If we had the two statements given, plus the statement "Everybody is either poor or rich, and everybody either worries or not", then the conclusion would actually be correct, but that isn't the case. But let me add a third statement that is probably more justified than the two original ones: "Dead people don't worry". Now the advice given can be literally fatal: Stop worrying, and you will either become rich or you will die.

share|improve this answer

Correlation does not imply causation, i.e. the fact that Uber-wealthy do not worry about money does not mean that "worry about money" has an inverse relationship with wealth.

(Sales of ice cream correlating with increased violent crime is another example).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.