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Person A provides a fact/opinion X. Person B retaliates by saying that there are more important things to talk about other than the fact/opinion X.

Example: The Person A is a prominent politician who expresses his opinion/remarks about a socially unacceptable incident, which happened recently. Person A is a good person, he has truly dedicated his life to find solutions for those "important matters". Person B, says that Person A should not pay attention to trivia and instead pay attention to those "important matters".

Is there a logical fallacy here? If yes, what is it? If not, how would you explain this kind of reasoning.

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    There is not necessarily a logical fallacy, because the term "logical fallacy" implies an argument is occurring, and it's not clear that's the case in your example. See meta.philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/3040/… – virmaior Dec 29 '15 at 6:11
  • Example: Person A: Government is not concerned about the rights of the minorities. Person B: There are more important issues for the government to be concerned about of such as growing terrorism and rising pollution. – Scruffy Dec 29 '15 at 6:35
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    @scruffy: question posts look, I think, better formed when examples further elaborating your question are in the original post; rather than in comments. – Mozibur Ullah Dec 29 '15 at 19:48
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It's called a Red Herring. Drawing attention away from the current subject in order to avoid you noticing that there is something wrong with their argument.

Depending on how it's used, it can be considered a fallacy, but usually (especially in the context you're describing) it is just rhetoric.

In the case you are describing, it sounds like they are using an appeal to emotion (fallacy) as a red herring (rhetorical device) to draw away from an argument they are losing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring

  • Welcome to Philosophy.SE! :) Is there any chance you might be able to explore this a bit further? (Is there anything that could make this answer more persuasive, like examples or quotes?) – Joseph Weissman Dec 31 '15 at 2:13
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No fallacy there. In fact, it's quite rational thinking. Communication is not free, it costs resources -- especially time. It is rational to pay attention to the expenditure of those resources. In fact, it may be thought of as irrational to do otherwise.

A trivial example of this can be seen in a case where person A repeatedly introduces facts which have little to no impact on the considerations of person B (Did you know the Bullet Ant is 1.5 inches long? Did you know the aurora is caused by charged particles? Did you know Yoda's style of lightsaber combat is called Ataru?). The failure to prioritize the communication of facts and opinions and to stymme wasteful communication could be quite limiting in the face of one who raises facts such as this.

If anything, the only mistake in the phrasing is that person B should state that "they believe there are more important things to talk about." As you wrote it, their phrasing suggests they know what is valuable for both parties, but the slightly modified phrasing permits them to communicate their opinion and save both parties from wasteful communication (its painful to finish a logical argument only to find the other person had found other things to do besides listening). A continued discussion as to why they believe this may bring agreement between Person A and Person B, or it may identify disagreement as to the validity of Person B's belief.

This could be an outright fallacy if Person B cannot identify anything more important to talk about, from their point of view. There may also be a fallacy in their defense of their belief that there is something more to talk about, but that fallacy is in the (unspecified) defense, not in the retaliation itself.

In some situations such a response could be considered rude, but hardly a logical fallacy.

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    The Person A is a prominent politician who expresses his opinion/remarks about a socially unacceptable incident, which happened recently. Person A is a good person, he has truly dedicated his life to find solutions for those "important matters". Person B, says that Person A should not pay attention to trivia and pay attention to those "important matters". Thanks for your reply. I just further elaborated my question. – Scruffy Dec 29 '15 at 11:39
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    That comment elaborating helps clarify. Much of the issue here is a difference in prioritization. People do not always agree upon what topics need the most attention at any one point in time. That's one of the things that makes us people. It's no fallacy to disagree on priorities. This is doubly true in politics because there is such a gap between talking about something and doing something about it that sometimes talking doesn't actually move anything forward. (that goes for both Person A and Person B's agendas) – Cort Ammon Dec 29 '15 at 14:28
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If person A puts forward a question Q; prompting person B to go in search of fact S or opinion T ...

Then it would seem churlish for person A to rebuff person B to have found and brought forward fact S or opinion T to satisfy his question Q ...

And much more than churlish, and much less than courteous to offer in retaliation or even in vengeance - fact X or opinion Y which trumps S or T, or both ...

For a question that is properly a question, should not be merely rhetorically a question; and be better framed in thought, and thought through ...

It should invite an answer that is properly an answer; that is - as an answer, it accounts itself an answer, by being possessed of an account, justification or demonstration that lifts it up from being merely an answer.

ie mere fact, or mere opinion

So, less fallacy, and more psychology - but not quite.

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