I feel like there has to be just because I see it so often.

The statement is usually phrased as a question: "Why does group X believe thing Y but also contradictory thing Z?"—the mistake being that the members of the group who believe Y do not overlap with the members who believe Z.

For example: "Why do men call women 'sluts' if they sleep with people, but 'prudes' if they don't?"

I know that not every such claim implies this fallacy, but it seems to happen an awful lot.

  • This sounds like a case of the fallacy of composition when a property of a whole is inferred from its parts having it en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition But it is not exclusive to contradictory properties or "hypocrisy".
    – Conifold
    Feb 2, 2016 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


It probably depends more on the specific example, but you are probably referring to faulty generalization:

A faulty generalization is a conclusion about all or many instances of a phenomenon that has been reached on the basis of just one or just a few instances of that phenomenon. It is an example of jumping to conclusions. For example, we may generalize about all people, or all members of a group, based on what we know about just one or just a few people.

However, in your specific example, I cannot imagine someone who had only ever met men who used language like that to refer to women, so the specific example you gave just seems to be someone ignoring facts.

  • Yeah, the example I gave was probably not great, in retrospect. Faulty generalization fits, certainly, but the specific problem is that faulty generalization is applied twice, and then that a "hypocrisy" argument is made from this. I dunno, maybe that's the best way to describe it, though. Feb 2, 2016 at 5:17

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