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Yet another of these fallacy questions...

There is a certain kind of rhetorical move which famously might occur in classical psychoanalysis, but also in other situations. The therapist says the patient's behaviour indicates resistance to the treatment. The patient says that he or she is not resisting, and this is taken as further proof for the resistance. So either way, the the therapist can't be wrong.

A similar kind of situation have occurred sometimes when I (as a man) have debated with some quite radical feminists. A feminist makes an argument which is about patriarchal structures somehow. If I disagree, regardless of the content of my argument, the very fact that I disagree, for them, constitutes a proof that they're right. My disagreement with them is predicted by their argument because I'm a man, so no argument I can make can counter their argument.

Can this be considered a logical fallacy or more of a rhetorical move, and has it been named?

Edit:

Reading the answer by Leif, I get the idea that both situations can be understood like this:

  1. Disagreement from resistance is invalid.

  2. All patients have resistance.

  3. Resistance can lead to disagreement.

  4. Therefore, your disagreement is an expression of resistance, and therefore it is invalid.

And the other situation:

  1. Disagreement from male privilege is invalid.
  2. All men have male privilege.
  3. Male privilege can lead to disagreement.
  4. Therefore, your disagreement is an expression of resistance, and therefore it is invalid.

Structured like this, it seems like the crucial point (at least one crucial point) is assuming that all disagreement is an expression of resistance or male privilege. In this case, it seems to be a logical error, that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises.

Alternatively, it might be structured like this:

  1. Disagreement from resistance is invalid.
  2. Disagreement among patients is always caused by resistance.
  3. Because you are patient, your disagreement is an expression of resistance, and therefore it is invalid.

And the other situation:

  1. Disagreement from male privilege is invalid.
  2. Disagreement among men is always caused by male privilege.
  3. Because you are a man, your disagreement is an expression of resistance, and therefore it is invalid.

In this case it seems to be the premises, especially #2 that seems to be questionable. Perhaps it's not a fallacy, but just a question of whether you agree with that premise or not?

  • It is an abridged variant of Morton's fork, commonly known as "heads, I win; tails, you lose" or catch-22, "a favorite of conspiracy theorists, who believe evidence against the conspiracy is actually evidence for the conspiracy because those perpetrating the conspiracy are obviously covering up the necessary evidence". It has genetic fallacy (dismissing arguments based on who they are coming from rather than merits) and ad hominem mixed in. – Conifold Sep 27 '20 at 11:27
  • Thank you. Seems about right. And the specific point of the genetic fallacy would be that the patient will always be motivated by resistance, or that men will always be motivated by male privilege? – JonB Sep 27 '20 at 14:43
  • I think it's called "being human". – Hot Licks Sep 28 '20 at 0:49
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    There may well be some truth to that, but if we dismissed arguments because their proposers potentially have some bias then almost all real life arguments would have to be so dismissed. That is the tissue of fallacy. Not only is bias ubiquitous, it has upsides too, it motivates people to notice what others overlook for lack of caring. The result may or may not have merit, but it is the substance that should be rebutted, not the source. – Conifold Sep 28 '20 at 1:57
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It's a form of ad hominem, but for the specific form, I have only seen kafkatrapping.

In Kafka's The Trial, everything the main character does to protest his innocence is treated as proof of his guilt. So too with this.

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Popper has described a method of immunization against rebuttal in "Conjectures and Refutations" referring directly to Freud. The point to it is that the general statements contain enough vagueness that an empirical observation and its negations can both be framed as confirmation. On the other hand, your opponent might simply be right about you having a bias, so it is not necessary a fallacy. ;-) Thirdly, it could be considered an argumentum ad hominem ("Of course you would say that, since you stated x before") or ad personam ("of course you would say that, because you are an y"), thereby diverting form the question of truth of your position towards the validity of another statement or even diverting from that question implying that you didn't make your statement for truthfulness, but from a personal interest.

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    Of course I might be biased. But in this kind of situation, there is no way that my opponent can know for certain that my argument comes from being biased even if it were true, because the presence of bias on my part cannot be deducted from my argument alone. So I'd still consider it a fallacy, even if the conclusion would happen to be true in this particular case, don't you agree? – JonB Sep 27 '20 at 14:02
  • @JonB Also of course, that you are biased is not in fact evidence that you are wrong, so it's moot. – Mary Sep 27 '20 at 18:43
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Richard Dawkins named this fallacy in God's Delusion (2007).* In the context of the book, disagreement with the Catholic Church was a proof of the Devil's existence, since heresy of some kind was taken as proof of the devil's influence on one's mind.

*I read it more than 10 years ago, forgive me for not remembering the exact name, but you can find his classification of this fallacy there.

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