I was talking to a small business owner the other day. When asked why they never incorporated in order to limit their liability, their explanation was, to paraphrase, "nothing bad has happened to us in the past, so nothing bad will happen to us in the future."

My initial thought was that it was the gambler's fallacy, but that has to do with predicting that an event will happen less often in the future because it happened many times recently or vice versa.

Is there a fallacy that involves arguing things will continue to be the same in the future because they haven't happened in the past?

  • Selection bias? Changing your own estimate about yourself, "I never died and therefore I won't" Dec 5, 2014 at 18:45
  • Per my answer, I do think it is Normalcy bias. They believe that bad things won't happen in the future because it hasn't happened in the past. It's a form of denial and self-delusion.
    – pooter03
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:05

3 Answers 3


I was able to get the answer. It is a cognitive bias: the Normalcy Bias. Quoting from the Wiki article,

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

  • 1
    This is a psychological explanation rather than an identification of the logical fallacy in question.
    – virmaior
    Jun 9, 2015 at 12:53
  • 1
    @virmaior Fallacies look like logical arguments but aren't. Wouldn't they have to be psychological in nature? Nov 9, 2018 at 18:59
  • No idea if they are psychological in nature ... my point is that this explains things in terms of psychology, i.e. a different methodology than philosophy.
    – virmaior
    Nov 9, 2018 at 19:17

They are using induction. There is no justification for induction without using induction in the first place. In other words, any argument for induction would be based on the fallacy of begging the question. So then, we can say that induction is the fallacy that has taken place in his reasoning.


I am not able to respond to the alleged answer, but the fallacy is a form of inductive inference.

  • Sometimes this is called "false induction fallacy". That might be what you were looking for
    – virmaior
    Jun 21, 2015 at 6:52

I know it's an old one, but I was searching for this too and I assume Optimism bias is fitting very good. Perfect actually. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism_bias

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