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I have been trying to figure out which logical fallacy this quote makes: "You can't give me a C; I'm an A student!"

Thanks in advance!

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  • 2
    What does your research show, and why do you distrust it?
    – Davo
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 17:55
  • 1
    It's called a false sense of entitlement or a sense of entitlement complex
    – Armen Ծիրունյան
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 18:19
  • @Davo I was wondering if it was the "Begging the question" fallacy. However, I am not sure about that.
    – Surya Mani
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 18:25
  • I'm inclined to think that they're just terrible at making a case for mercy. "Could you throw out this low score as an anomaly? You know I always do good work and I was just terribly distracted that day. Could I retake the test or do extra credit to replace it." ... might be a more persuasive plea. Asking for an accommodation often works... and the fact that they normally do good work might be a persuasive argument to be given 'the benefit of the doubt". I don't find past performance as irrelevant in terms of asking for an accommodation.
    – Tom22
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 19:16
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    If the intended inference is "I am an A student, therefore a C is out of character" then there is no fallacy, it is valid. If it is something stronger, like "I am an A student, therefore a C must be a mistake" it could be a hasty generalization (from usually A-s to always A-s). But most likely it is not a logical inference at all, but an emotional outburst of incredulity.
    – Conifold
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 22:53

4 Answers 4

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The inconsistency fallacy.

If you get a C, you are, by definition, not an "A student". Therefore, this is an inconsistency.

If the sentence had instead been something like "you can't give me a C, I am a smart person", then it'd be non sequitur, as the student thinks that just because they are smart, it must be impossible for them to receive a C grade, but that conclusion does not follow from the premise of them being smart: it is perfectly possible for smart students to receive poor grades.

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I wouldn't say it's a logical fallacy. It's more a case of narcissism, or maybe inability to evaluate one's self properly.

If you stretch a point and assume the speaker always got "A"s in the past, then the logical fallacy might be that "past results are no guarantee of future performance." Even then, you don't know whether the speaker just left West Podunk Community College and is now about to flunk out of Johns Hopkins.

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  • The aforementioned person would be regarded as an 'egotist'.
    – marcellothearcane
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 18:51
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I would say there are two options. The first is begging the claim, i.e.:

The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim.

The argument here is essentially that "the A student deserves to get an A," but there is no evidence that she is an A student. It's the same as saying "crooked Hillary deserves to be in jail because she's a crook."

Although the ad hominem fallacy is usually an attack on someone's character, I think it could also apply here. The student is using her character as a means of validating her claim instead of giving any hard evidence for why she deserves an A in this particular case. Another example could be:

Bill Gates gives money to charity so he must be scrupulous in all of his business dealings.

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The student believes an appeal to authority should be applied, because he believes he is an authority on the subject and that his word is assuringly true. There's no way his advice can be disregarded (according to this appeal).

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