What is the exact name of the logical fallacy, where one invalidates the arguments by claiming that the terms on which the argument is built are indistinguishable, e.g.:

You have stated that politics often influences economics. This is what is meaningless, because economics is politics.

I suppose, if one were to enter a discussion of terminology, this would boil down to some kind of false equivalence. As is, it seems using unconventional definition of the terms, so it is somehow similar to Syntactic ambiguity (but we are obviously not dealing with syntax here.) Alternatively, it could be a case of ignoratio elenchi or overwhelming exception.

The term economics (the research discipline) here is used here as meaning economy (the phenomenon.)

Related questions:
What is the name of the fallacy: 'we cannot clearly distinguish one thing from another'?


2 Answers 2


The form of the argument in your question is this:

'You have said that A causes B, but A cannot cause B, because A=B'

So, the interlocutor is being accused of conflating two concepts by thinking that one causes ("influences", etc.) the other.

This is not a fallacy with a name. However, a particular application of this 'fallacy' has a long and storied history in the philosophy of mind. Specifically, Cartesians about the mind maintain that the mind and body are distinct (caveat: Descartes himself could be cagey about exactly what the distinction was), while critics have argued that the arguments typically deployed for this claim are flawed in one of a variety of ways.

Arnauld makes such an argument in the Fourth Objections to Descartes's Meditations. Summary here: https://iep.utm.edu/antoine-arnauld/#:~:text=Arnauld%20argues%20that%20given%20Descartes,does%20not%20reflect%20Pythagoras'%20Theorem.

Gilbert Ryle refers to a version of the kind of conflation mentioned here as a "category mistake" in "The Concept of Mind".

See the section on Leibniz's Law Arguments here: https://iep.utm.edu/dualism-and-mind/

Broadly speaking, the argumentative strategy deployed in the example is one of saying to an opponent, "You think these things are different, but they aren't."


It isn't a logical fallacy. It is simply wrong.

An argument for a statement is made by applying logic to facts. If a fact is stated with no supporting logic, there is no logical fallacy.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .