Current Indian prime minister had left his wife very early for he was not interested in marriage. Today, a chief minister commented on him -

Narendra Modi you cannot take care of your wife, how can you take care of the country? - CM of Bengal

This clearly looks like a fallacy. How taking care of wife can become eligibility to run a country? I thought it to be fallacy of composition but I am neither sure not satisfied with it. Can anyone tell what would be the name of suitable fallacy?

  • That is an ad hominem attack.
    – user96931
    May 15, 2019 at 17:26
  • Taking care of the wife may not be a sufficient qualification for taking care of a country, but not taking care of her may nonetheless indicate the lack of qualification for taking care of things in general. It is the same logic as in "if you could not even take care of the gold fish how can you take care of a dog" that parents tell kids. It is a special case of argument from analogy. Such arguments are defeasible, but not obviously fallacious. If the analogy between the two situations is misjudged it would be a false analogy.
    – Conifold
    May 16, 2019 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


People rarely make formal arguments using natural language. This means that we have to "translate" or rephrase the statements expressed in a natural language into a pseduo-language which demonstrates the logical structure of the the argument.

For example, look at the OP: the quote being analyzed is a question. A question is not an argument. But there is clearly an argument being made. It is up to us to translate the question into an argument.

This gives us options. We can express the given quote in at least three unique ways, each true to the intent of the question, but each guilty of a different fallacy.

You can classify it as a non sequitur:

If you can't take care of your spouse then you can't take care of the country.

The consequent does not follow from the antecedent

You can also classify it as a faulty analogy:

Running a country is like running a household


Caring for a country is like caring for a spouse.

Could also be an abusive ad hominem:

Narendra Mod: I am fit to be prime minister
Critic: How so? You can't take care of your wife.

This attacks the person instead of their policies or track record.

  • Can't it be 'fallacy of composition' somehow?
    – Mr. Sigma.
    May 16, 2019 at 4:10

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