Is there a fallacy name for the below argument?

Person A: Latin language is inherently better than the English language. Person B: Why do you think so? Person A: Because Latin is older than English and has been spoken for a longer time than English has been.

The fact that Latin is older than English is not an indication that it is inherently better than English, and therefore the "oldness" of the language is an irrelevant criteria based on which Person A is making the argument.

Is there a name for this fallacy?

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  • Well ... there are clear hidden premises. Seemingly the argument of Person A entails a hidden premise along the lines of "a language which has been spoken for a longer time is better" and/or "an older language is better". No fallacy there, just unclear argumentation. Whether or not these underlying premises are sound is a different discussion, but that argument seems valid. – Steven Jeuris Nov 3 '17 at 15:39
  • But ... this (informal logic) seems off-topic here, and this specific question is rather rudimentary for Philosophy.SE I believe. – Steven Jeuris Nov 3 '17 at 15:43
  • Steven, thanks for your response. Is there a more appropriate StackExchange community for posting my question? – James Taylor Nov 3 '17 at 16:00
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    A fallacy requires a deduction. There is no deduction here, just a baseless premise. The speaker may have some worldview that does in fact imply that older languages are somehow inherently better. (Historically, some Kabbalists have insisted speech has more magical power the closer it lies to having common roots with Hebrew, so older languages with similar pedigrees would qualify as inherently better.) He makes no argument, so we can't tell what his logic is. – jobermark Nov 3 '17 at 18:52

Person A states two premises to derive the conclusion:

P1: Latin is older than English
P2: Latin has been spoken for a longer time than English
Conclusion: Latin language is inherently better than the English

This in itself is a non-sequitur:

In everyday speech, a non sequitur is a statement in which the final part is totally unrelated to the first part ...

More likely, we can assume Person A implies the following hidden premise (for P1, but a similar hidden premise exists for P2):

P1: Latin is older than English
P1a (hidden): An older language is a better language
Conclusion: Latin is better than English

This is a valid argument, but says nothing about whether or not the hidden premise is sound. (There is a difference between validity and soundness.)

  • important note about validity and soundness to drive the point home :+1: – Dan Bradbury Nov 3 '17 at 17:47

The name of the fallacy you are looking for is the fallacy of novelty. The fallacy pattern is specifically x is better thsn y because x is newer. We can also imagine this argument along the lines of technology. This computer 2017 is better than the 2014 computer. But in some cases the person is correct which is why this is tricky.

Novelty is a fallacy simply because the pattern does not guarantee the conclusion 100%. That is the conclusion is not forced as the newer model does not have to have better quality or features. The newer model may have more defects than the older model for instance.

An argument firm cannot be valid if there is even a 1% chance of the conclusion being false as in the example i gave. You can also think about auto recalls. Several cars that were newer have recalled over the older models. There are tons of cases which prove the conclusion is not forced. The fact sometimes you are right and sometimes the person is wrong makes it not 100%. If a conclusion is not forced or guaranteed the argument is not valid.


I aplologize foe i made abd error in the interprtation at least in my head. I read it but registered the message backwards. I was corrected. However either way there is a fallacy. I happened to use the wrong name. The correct name of this fallacy is tradition. That x is original or older and must therefore be better. The pattern is different but the explanation of why this is fallacious remains the same. The conclusion is not guaranteed in either fallacy I named.

  • The argument is exactly the opposite : x is older so it is better. – Steven Jeuris Nov 3 '17 at 18:35
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    You are correct. I misread. This is still a fallacy though either way and cannot be valid. The fallacy of tradition is the complement to the fallacy of novelty. – Logikal Nov 3 '17 at 18:44
  • I looked it up and the name is "Appeal to Antiquity". Logikal, thanks for your answer as it was a useful pointer to me, since I was not aware of this fallacy . I agree with your edit regarding your answer mentioning a different pattern but with the same general fallacy. I upvoted your answer but it may not show up since I don't have enough reps yet. – James Taylor Nov 3 '17 at 18:47
  • Tradition is another term that expresses the same thing. Wiki should list both if you use that – Logikal Nov 3 '17 at 18:51
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition being the opposite. – Fizz Nov 4 '17 at 3:59

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