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If that's indeed a kind of fallacy or maybe multiple stacked (informal?) fallacies or some kind of a psychological bias.

Examples in which I sense a similar pattern which I'm trying to identify here:

A. A customer goes to buy an electronic device and upon receiving the item asks: "How long is the warranty period for this item?" to which the seller replies "If you don't 'fry' it, the period is 1 year." with a specific, bitter, unwarranted verbal emphasis on the first part. The original question didn't ask for judgement and there was no reason to suspect that said customer can damage the equipment on purpose or otherwise.

B. A customer enters a store to collect a made-to-order prepaid item and upon stating that an order has been placed, paid for, delivered to this location and the intention is to collect, gets a response from the clerk: "This is the first time I see you, I don't know you, how do you expect me to give this item to you?" where a normal answer would be "Please provide me with your order ID" (if the clerk is, indeed, unsure).

C. Overheard in a telephone conversation so it's not complete, goes similar to:

Joe: valid logical question

Bob: deliberately hurtful (but not necessarily a direct personal attack) answer that is still however related to the question and answers it at least partially

Joe: disappointed and hurt by Bob's response

Bob: "You asked and I answered" (literal phrase delivered with a hint of defensiveness in voice).

In this Bob supplies a deliberately hurtful diversionary response and is later putting the blame of not liking the answer to the other party with the intention of discrediting the opponent's question by using their emotional reaction to a semi-valid but hurtful response.

  • Welcome to SE Philosophy, and thanks for contributing with a question/response! If you haven't done so, please take a quick moment to take the tour. philosophy.stackexchange.com/tour More specifics can be found in the help center. philosophy.stackexchange.com/help – J D Nov 14 at 23:44
  • Fallacies require arguments. Effective transactions and meta-communication are not arguments in the related sense. In each of these cases there are two messages, the logical one, which is not flawed, and an unwanted, baseless negativity that does not have any logical content. So the notion of fallacy does not apply to any of them. – user9166 Nov 15 at 21:45
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Welcome, Захар Joe.

None of your examples involves a fallacy, which is an error in reasoning. Example of fallacious reasoning: 'If it's raining then the pavements are wet. The pavements are wet. Therefore it's raining.' This is fallacious reasoning because there are many reasons, besides a rainfall, why the pavements are wet. A burst water main might cause the pavements to be wet.

Case A. Just a case of unnecessary, unjustifiable sarcasm.

Case B. An unnecessarily rude way of making a perfectly proper request.

Case C. This is so sketchily specified that it's honestly hard to analyse. Is it parallel to something like this? Joe: 'Is it raining?' Bob: 'You've got eyes, look for yourself.' Joe: 'That's a bit curt and unhelpful, isn't it?' Bob: 'You asked and I answered.'

There's no fallacy here and I think the exchange is in line with your Case C. Bob is being deliberately curt and unhelpful. Logic can't throw light on this. The psychological explanation of Joe's behaviour is anyone's guess without further information.

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SHORT ANSWER

None of the examples you have listed appear to be fallacies. A fallacy is a persuasive, but poorly reasoned argument whose conclusion doesn't follow.

LONG ANSWER

Not all mistakes or communications that are personal attacks are fallacies. In the examples you cite, there are certainly implications and implicatures. But to be a fallacy, there must be a deductive, inductive, or abductive inference involved.

A popular fallacy, for instance, is the straw man, where in argumentation, one comes to a conclusion by arguing against an argument that isn't actually made:

Socrates: I think we should allow Spartan immigrants to claim amnesty and live among us.
Plato: That's an interesting idea, however, but Spartans are loyal to their homeland and may come to the aid of Laconia were we to find ourselves at war.
Socrates: Nonsense. Every Spartan I know works hard. It's clear we could use hard workers.
Plato: I never said Spartans weren't hard workers!!!

Here, clearly, the riposte misses Plato's objection and draws a specious conclusion by arguing against a position Plato did not take. Now let's look at your first example:

A. A customer goes to buy an electronic device and upon receiving the item asks: "How long is the warranty period for this item?" to which the seller replies "If you don't 'fry' it, the period is 1 year." with a specific, bitter, unwarranted verbal emphasis on the first part. The original question didn't ask for judgement [sic] and there was no reason to suspect that said customer can damage the equipment on purpose or otherwise.

In this example, there is certainly an implication that the customer is likely to ruin the equipment. But, is there at least one stated premise and a conclusion drawn from it? I don't see it. If it had gone:

Clerk Yes, there does, and you'll be back to use it, won't you?

Here we have an inference with an enthymeme that goes along the lines of:

  • P1. There is a warranty.
  • P2. (You'll break the equipment.)
  • C. Therefore, you'll be back to use the warranty.

Is this fallacious? Depends! Maybe this customer has a habit and a reputation of doing so. Maybe this customer is of a different ethnic group and the presumption is she is of lower intelligence. Perhaps the implication is that the breakage that occurs is because of the poor quality of the equipment and there's a 75% chance as 3 out 4 models fail during the warranty. Context, not content!

There is an 'if' in your example, and the clause certainly seems presumptuous and insulting, but the single statement is a proposition, and it takes multiple propositions to form an argument. So we do have a conditional statement, and we do have an insult; it is understandable to see why you might have the impression it is a fallacy. But is it an ad hominem? Once again, an ad hominem is a type of faulty inference.

Not Ad hominem You're a moron. The answer you give is wrong.
Ad hominem You're a moron (and morons give wrong answers), therefore the answer you give is wrong.

This is a subtle but important distinction. For instance, if a person is slow, and does come up with a wrong answer, then in the first case, what we have is an insult and a statement of fact, not a fallacy. A person adds two and two and says five! The person is insulted, and called out for making an error, and as rude as this is, it's simply not an inference.


REFERENCES

Damer, T. Edward. Attacking Faulty Reasoning
Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies

  • 1
    JD, thank you very much for this thorough response, and I've actually learned something new too! I'll mark Geoffrey's answer though because I found it cleaner and straightforward and very easy to understand. Can't mark two at the same time unfortunately. Thank you for taking the time to analyze it, I really appreciate that. – Захар Joe Nov 15 at 17:52
  • Very polite of you to say so. Honestly, I just like to hear myself speak. ;) Good luck! – J D Nov 15 at 20:17

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