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Is the following a type of logical fallacy? It's a false assumption from my understanding however I would like to understand more regarding the type of fallacy.

A jelly bean is a type of lolly or sweet. Given that jelly beans are lollies, and lollies are popular and consumed frequently by children, that jelly beans must also be popular and consumed frequently by children.

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3 Answers 3

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_division

Fallacy of division.

The example on the page is:

  1. The second grade in Jefferson elementary eats a lot of ice cream
  2. Carlos is a second-grader in Jefferson elementary
  3. Therefore, Carlos eats a lot of ice cream

That's quite similar to the argument in your example

  1. lollis are popular among children
  2. jelly beans are a lolli
  3. therefore, jelly beans are popular among children

It's quite apparent that even if a generalization is true about a large category, you can't necessarily apply that generalization to individual elements of that category.

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What you give as absolute statements are actually quite inaccurate statements. "Lollies are frequently consumed by children" - well, it doesn't say that all types of lollies are frequently consumed by children, at that's where the argument breaks apart.

You can only apply logic to real world situations if the statements you use describe the real world precisely enough. If I take a dead fly, put it on a stick and freeze it in a bit of water, that's also a kind of lolly, but kids will run away screaming.

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Compare:

a)

  1. All types of sweets are popular with children
  2. Jelly beans are a type of sweet
  3. Therefore jelly beans are popular with children

with

b)

  1. Some types of sweets are popular with children
  2. Jelly beans are a type of sweet
  3. Therefore jelly beans are popular with children

In a), the conclusion can be deduced from the preceding premises. However, in b) it is not stated that jelly beans are one of the types of popular sweets, therefore the conclusion cannot be derived from the premises.

Clearly the important difference is between ‘all’ and ‘some’. Jelly beans are not necessarily part of the set of sweets which are popular with children. So the argument b) is indeed fallacious and your example conforms to argument b).

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