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Making use of an argument about a subject X, Person 1 presents his view to Person 2. Then Person 2, who is against that position, simply makes the following claim: "Hey dude, you have committed the fallacy Y, so you're wrong!". Period. He doesn't explain why the Person 1's claim is a fallacy. So, let's suppose it's a fallacy, but a not very known fallacy. My question is: In this case, isn't Person 2 committing a fallacy too, when he affirms that Person 1's claim is a fallacy without explaining why? If so, which fallacy is he committing?

  • "Hey dude, what you've talked is a fallacy" is not really a question; I've edited the title to match the body of your post. If it is a troll attempt, it's a bad one because the question is actually okay. The answer is trivial (no), but actually a question I can see a novice asking. – stoicfury Jan 17 '15 at 20:47
  • @stoicfury This is at best a question with very low effort (because the answer "no" can be found via simply searching for the definition of a fallacy), and at worst a troll attempt. In either case the question should be closed/removed. – Zubin Mukerjee Jan 17 '15 at 20:50
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    @Zubin - Trivial questions are accepted on this website. Imagine a world in which we (the volunteers of this website) were all super geniuses and all questions in the world were trivial to us — should we then answer no questions asked of us? Triviality is not an excuse to help someone in need. :) This person has asked only this one question here and has done no other actions to suggest this is not serious, so we should take him seriously until it is definitively proven that we shouldn't. :) – stoicfury Jan 17 '15 at 20:58
  • @stoicfury I guess that makes sense; I may have overreacted based on the original title of this question ... – Zubin Mukerjee Jan 17 '15 at 20:59
  • It is not really a fallacy but it is vulnerable to Hitchen's Razor: "That which is claimed without argument can be dismissed without argument". And since a counter-claim is a form of a claim, the counter-claim should be argued for or it is vulnerable. – MichaelK Apr 5 '18 at 11:05
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There are in fact two things going wrong here:

  • Person 2 claims that person 1 used a fallacy, but doesn't tell why. This is not a fallacy, as a fallacy only occurs in arguments, but there's no argument here - there's only a statement.
  • Person 2 claims that because person 1's argument is fallacious, therefore the conclusion must be wrong. This is called Argument from fallacy.
  • Thank you for your answer. But person 2 is using an argument because it contains a conclusion and one reason: "Your argument is wrong (conclusion) because it contains a fallacy (premise).". But as I said, he didn't explain why the argument is a fallacy. It looks like an informal fallacy. Correct me if I'm wrong. – Paul Jim Jan 17 '15 at 21:13
  • @PaulJim what I'm trying to show is that person 2 in fact makes two statements: a) you used a fallacy; b) your conclusion is incorrect. The first statement is unsupported and therefore doesn't use a fallacy. The second statement is supported, and contains the fallacy 'Argument from fallacy' which I mentioned. So yes, you are correct that person 2 uses an argument, and this argument contains a fallacy. Besides that, he's making up evidence, which isn't a fallacy but that doesn't make it less wrong. That last point, that he's making up evidence, corresponds to the first bullet in my answer. – Keelan Jan 17 '15 at 21:16
  • Right, I'm still a beginner on logic, and just started learning it today. Thanks for the explanation, it helped me a lot! – Paul Jim Jan 17 '15 at 21:22
  • @PaulJim no problem, happy to help! – Keelan Jan 17 '15 at 21:23
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It depends whether the second person is engaging in a discussion whether a statement is true or false, or not.

If A says "the statement X is true because ... " and B says "you are committing fallacy Y", then the argument whether X is true or false is undecided; you could actually say that A might have made the better points so far.

But if B is highly experienced, and doesn't really care what A says, and usually is right in his claims, then A is better off checking his arguments. B isn't committing any fallacy, because B isn't really arguing with A. Unless we have the rare case that B is wrong this time, B might just be a little unhelpful.

In such a situation A might assume that B hasn't really refuted the claim X at all, but might be able to refute A's argument anytime he or she wishes. It would be very embarrassing if A tried to show his argument to C, and then B pops up saying "I told you that you are committing a fallacy and you didn't change any of your argument. So here is what the fallacy is, why it is a fallacy, and why X is actually wrong".

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They could be engaging in The Burden of Proof Fallacy. Then again, they might not.

Given how frustrating it is to keep talking about Person 1 and Person 2, I am going to name them traditional names, without loss of generality: Alice and Bob. It simply makes the rest of the argument easier to read.

The real question would be in how Bob expects his rejection to be taken. Usually its not that someone like Bob thinks merely naming a fallacy is enough to reject an argument. They usually assume that, once pointed out, even the original speaker could work through the fallacy themselves.

If Alice can deduce the fallacy in her own argument, then no second fallacy has occurred. What has occurred is simple efficiency of rhetoric. Why say a paragraph when a sentence will do?

However, if Alice cannot agree with the claim that her argument has a fallacy, then Bob's behavior will decide whether a fallacy has occurred. If Bob responds by taking the time to walk Alice through his argument, then no fallacy has occurred. Bob just tried to be efficient, and had to back up to defend it.

If Bob blows off Alice, then Bob has indeed committed a fallacy himself, assuming that "just because I made a statement assumes it is proven."

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