I don't know if there's a specific name for this particular logical fallacy, but I see this rather often:

An organization (government, corporation, etc.) announces some policy. The policy is irksome in some way, and people begin to assert that the reason the organization is doing it that way is because they're stupid/greedy/needlessly cruel. Most of the time, the critics actually have no idea how the organization's internal processes work, or are unfamiliar with the problem domain.

The specific example that comes to mind is when trailers for TV shows or movies are geo-locked. People get really angry when they can't watch a trailer (that's intended for e.g. a US audience) because they're in France, or whatever, and assume that the trailer is locked merely because someone decided to be a greedy jerk. They are typically completely unaware of the contractual obligations which mandate such things: the US distributor for a show is required by their contract to make a best effort to prevent their version of the trailer from being seen by non-US audiences, because the French distributor doesn't want French audiences being put off by a trailer that's been edited to appeal to Americans instead of the French.

Anyway, the details of the example aside: is there a name for this fallacy?

  • "Ignorance" ?
    – user16869
    Apr 26, 2016 at 16:20
  • There's a difference between "I don't understand this policy" and "I don't understand this policy, therefore the people who made it are stupid."
    – dirtside
    Apr 3, 2017 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


Just because something is false doesn't mean it's a "fallacy" - at least in a philosophical context. That word is reserved in philosophy, generally speaking, to mean logic that by virtue of it's deceptiveness is tragically bad.

In this case - the "Stupid Assumption" - I would say this could possibly be a fallacy called "begging the question," which essentially means:

"...begging the question (petitio principii) can occur in a number of ways. One of them is when the proposition one is trying to establish is unwittingly assumed."

Stanford Reference

Or, simply by saying "This company is stupid" you are actually just stating the thing that you are trying to prove. It's circular reasoning. The other propositions stated (such as "they blocked my TV show") don't lead to a conclusion of "this company is stupid" - that has to be assumed for the conversation to even make sense.

People are casually, conversationally, question-beggers all the time and it's not normally a problem. They're either not saying what they actually mean (I hate this company for preventing me from watching what i want) or the remaining logic is assumed / implied / obvious.

So, that's why I include the caveat of tragically bad in the context of philosophy. There's enough implied in the comment for you to assume it's someone's opinion. It's under circumstances where things are stated as facts that it becomes truly messy and where I feel like the term "fallacy" is appropriate.

An example:

"I should get paid for answering your question on philosophy stack exchange because people who are helpful deserve compensation."

Sneaky, factually stated, circular reasoning - completely inaccurate. Fallacies in philosophy are wolves in sheep's clothing. If we're too liberal with the term's usage we run the risk of conversationally pedantic.

Hope this helps. Happy hunting.


Very close to the principle of charity

Negligence toward which is the bane of the internet IME

  • I think this is a great observation about the internet - and in particular the readiness to accept non-sourced news - but the OP is interpreting the comment as false. Maybe explain more how this could be applicable in the given circumstance? I think it will be helpful.
    – wahwahwah
    Apr 17, 2016 at 3:02

I feel like it is (or should be) some sort of fallacy when you assume to know the intentions of someone. Because like you say it is extremely common in today's political discourse. For example "The Conservatives went into to Iraq for oil.", "Liberals want to implement Communism via publicly funded health." etc.

The best I can come up with is Jumping To Conclusions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_to_conclusions

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