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For example,

"When responding to the interviewer's question regarding Kwanza, the senator didn't say anything about Hannuka, therefore he must be an anti-Semite."

While Hannuka and Kwanza occur during similar times of the year and are both holidays, failure to include Hannuka in a discussion about Kwanza does not provide additional insight about the responder's stance on the unmentioned topic.

I want to say "Failure-to-mention fallacy" but that isn't a thing.

  • This fits better at english.stackexchange.com I think, as a 'single-word-request'. – Chris Wohlert Aug 15 '17 at 11:43
  • I'd hesitate to quite call it a fallacy. I think it's just an informal argument, which left some premises unstated, to be filled in by the listener according to whatever conversational norms. Here the unstated premise is presumably: "If he wasn't an anti-semite, then in this context he would have said something about Hannukah". – David Bahry Aug 17 '17 at 20:29
  • (Though your second paragraph does say that you think the unstated premise is false, which does I guess make the whole thing sneakier.) – David Bahry Aug 17 '17 at 20:30
  • @DavidBahry I see what you mean. I guess I think of a fallacy as any generalizable logical step which appears to imply a conclusion from a premise but, in fact, is inconclusive. I like what you've pointed out. If this statement was true: "Anyone who isn't an anti-semite would mention hannukah in statements about Kwanza" then the conclusion would be logical. The senator does not meet the condition ubiquitously met by members of that set, therefore he must not be part of that set. So we should look at that premise, and ask if that's a known fallacy... – pixelpax Aug 19 '17 at 21:08
  • It asserts an unstated belief on behalf of the senator. It's a false cause, clearly. It feels almost like a "burden of proof fallacy." Putting the onus on the senator to have disproved something which wasn't mentioned. Is there a fallacy for just stating someone's belief on their behalf without them having made any statement on it? – pixelpax Aug 19 '17 at 21:15
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This, on first glance, appears to be a non sequitur. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)) But that's a really broad category.

A more important underlying issue is that this is a type of informal fallacy here. What that means is that we can argue about whether a fallacy occurred or whether the person critiquing it was making a legitimate point (See here for more on this issue).

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