Questions tagged [fallacies]

Concerns formal (syllogistic) fallacies, informal (rhetorical) fallacies, tactical misdirection, and errors in logic or reasoning more broadly put.

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7 votes
12 answers
3k views

The implication if we discovered that natural abiogenesis is statistically nearly impossible

If we were to discover somehow that (sentient) life was so unlikely that it were almost impossible that it forms even once in the whole universe, does that imply anything about creation e.g.? My logic ...
13 votes
10 answers
2k views

Differentiating an argument from authority from expert testimony

Consider the following argument : The mathematical theorem T is a true theorem, because person(s) P say so. In a scientific context, it would be a fallacious argument from authority. However, suppose ...
19 votes
11 answers
10k views

Is the “no true Scotsman'” fallacy actually a fallacy?

I have trouble with many so-called 'fallacies', and the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy is no exception. Let me quote a famous line from Game of Thrones: Any man who must say "I am the King" is ...
9 votes
8 answers
3k views

Is there a name for the widespread logical fallacy in which you prove your point by 'eliminating' anyone who contradicts you?

I've encountered this relentlessly in my life. You offer proof that someone is wrong, or even simply state something more obvious than the sun that they don't like, they ban you or do something else ...
38 votes
11 answers
8k views

What fallacy is the belief that we are special because our existence on Earth seems improbable an example of?

People often use the argument that there must be a God, for example, because Earth and the laws of physics are perfectly situated for humans to exist the way we do. However, if Earth, or even the ...
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

Logical fallacy: no one would be so dumb to

Fact: the car peeling away from the robbed bank has Alice's license plate Conclusion 1: suggests Alice might be involved in the bank robbery. Conclusion 2: if Alice was involved in the robbery, she ...
1 vote
1 answer
55 views

A question on contrapositives and predicates

So I am a freshman taking an intro class to logic. And the question started off from a class exercise we've got which asked us to identify the covering generalization for the following conditional ...
0 votes
2 answers
111 views

Sunk cost fallacy without considering abandonment

I am looking for the term used to describe this scenario. It's similar to the cost sunk fallacy -I think-. Let's say you have a bunch of teams going through some pain every day. There is a solution, ...
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

Is there a term for when one claims that something can't be true of the collective because it is not true of every individual within the collective?

Basically as the title says, I'm wondering if there is a term for when someone says that because there are some exceptions to the norm, that the norm cannot be considered as part or all of what ...
1 vote
1 answer
91 views

Attacker accuses the defender. What fallacy is going on here?

Suppose one country, the aggressor, launches a missile attack against another country, the defender. During the attack, the defender activates its anti-missile defense system and successfully shoots ...
3 votes
7 answers
2k views

"But I'm a good person!" - What logical fallacy is this? And how to argue against it?

In a recent argument, a friend repeatedly countered my claims with ideas of self that had been reinforced over time: But I'm a nice person. I'm self-reflective; I would never do that. I am ...
1 vote
2 answers
180 views

Is modus ponens inherently circular?

Consider this simple argument for why Socrates is mortal: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Thus, Socrates is mortal. This argument can be roughly formalized as follows: IF P THEN Q R R≡P Q ...
70 votes
7 answers
20k views

What is the fallacy “X is bad, Y is worse, therefore X is not bad” called?

I have often heard this type of argument: You are criticizing X using well-researched facts and arguments. Your interlocutor states that Y is much worse, with equally well-researched facts and ...
173 votes
17 answers
50k views

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

I'm hearing the argument X doesn't do Y, people do Y in quite a few guises. For instance, in its original form: Guns don't kill people; people kill people. Presumably, therefore, guns are OK. Cars ...
4 votes
2 answers
79 views

If moral statements aren't supposed to be reports of objective facts, does the practice of "fallacy checking" apply to moral arguments?

Maybe this is just a case of Jörgensen’s dilemma, but so I was reading the SEP article about feminist perspectives on argumentation, more specifically this passage: The difficulty some philosophers ...
1 vote
1 answer
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'proving prestige' vs 'asserting that purchasing those items will automatically bestow on us the glamor and prestige'

Source: pp 243-244, With Good Reason, An Introduction to Informal Fallacies (2000 6 ed) by York U. Prof. S. Morris Engel Just as we should guard against being taken in by an appeal to the ...
0 votes
1 answer
252 views

Is the inverse gambler’s fallacy charge against the multiverse accurate?

A common reason for why people came up with the multiverse hypothesis was that they couldn’t fathom that a single universe, if it is all that exists, bears the constants necessary to eventually result ...
3 votes
1 answer
137 views

Situation deemed as offensive, where offended party and/ or point of offense is not clear

In the past, medical literature noted that people suffering from trisomy 21 (Down's Syndrome) had Mongoloid features. This was later revised as it was deemed offensive. For this question, I assume the ...
3 votes
3 answers
110 views

Is this comparison committing a fallacy? [closed]

I am trying to build an argument against a friend: Me: "In your chess games against me, you never resign even when the conclusion is inevitable. I feel that this is a waste of time, and I object.&...
2 votes
2 answers
301 views

What logical fallacy is "if some of my enemies/adversaries affirm my claim then it is correct"?

I apologize if this question has been asked before or if the question is poorly worded. Consider the following situations: (1) two religious sects, say X and Y are fiercely adversaries. To convince ...
31 votes
10 answers
11k views

Isn't the notion that everything will occur in an infinite timeline an example of the gambler's fallacy?

I've seen a few different formulations of this, but the most famous is "monkeys on a typewriter" - that if you put a team of monkeys on a typewriter, given infinite time, they will ...
4 votes
3 answers
113 views

What fallacy is this?

P1: My opinions change as a result of brain function P2: Brain function is caused by opinions stored within it (slightly dodgy premise but if you wouldn't mind assuming it to be true, whether it is ...
5 votes
6 answers
250 views

Do percentages of negative things in a given sample matter more or less than the quantity of negative things?

Do percentages of negative things in a given sample matter more or less than the quantity of negative things? And is there a name for this concept? Is it some sort of fallacy to appeal to percentages? ...
0 votes
3 answers
84 views

Why doesn't acknowledging the barber's dual identity resolve the Barber Paradox?

The Barber Paradox is given as: "In a village, there is a male barber who shaves only those who do not shave themselves. The question is: Does the barber shave himself?". But, here is the ...
1 vote
2 answers
103 views

Does this statement constitute various fallacies? Is my delineation correct?

Person 1:"Man, J____, M____, and L____ tend to work at a cumbersome pace." Person 2:"Yeah, they're lazy, obviously"* LJ, M & L share similar characteristics in terms of skin ...
0 votes
5 answers
1k views

What is the logical fallacy called, that states "doing something is better than doing nothing"?

I think this just exists to ease our conscience to be able to say, well at least we tried something even though everyone knows it didn't change anything. Because just "standing by" fells wrong to us, ...
2 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is a false dichotomy still a dichotomy?

Given that an [adjective] X is still an X, is a false dichotomy still a dichotomy? This question is not exactly like asking one about a false belief, but it is similar as far as the wordplay is ...
1 vote
2 answers
82 views

A priori argument fallacy

Considering the "A priori argument logical fallacy" (see https://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl1311/fallacies.htm) Is there a way to formalize it (technical expression) using the ...
14 votes
8 answers
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If a person claims to know anything could it be disproven by saying 'prove that we are not in a simulation'?

Everyone starts out at 0 and if anyone wants to say that they know something they have to prove that claim. Is the counter to this person claiming that they know something logically correct? Person 1:...
13 votes
18 answers
6k views

Is it "unscientific" to be sceptical without offering alternative explanations?

Alice has made some anecdotal observations. Through a process of elimination, she proposes a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon, as well as an experiment to validate (or otherwise) her hypothesis. ...
5 votes
4 answers
652 views

What's the name of the logical fallacy of when you answer a question with essentially something that doesn't mean anything?

I've been trying to search in Wikipedia's list of fallacies but didn't find one that seemed to quite fit this case. Is there a name for the fallacy of when someone answers a question with essentially ...
2 votes
6 answers
533 views

What's the name of the "God creates Evil" fallacy?

I see this fallacy everywhere, from anti-Christians to Socialists/Communists. It goes like this: "if God exists, then why did He make all this Evil?" Another example: "the baker, by baking bread and ...
0 votes
4 answers
418 views

Is my analysis of Dawkins' fallacies correct?

I have been analyzing arguments made by prominent atheists and looking for logical fallacies. I am new at this. Are my analyses correct? From: “The All Time best arguments against religion/faith #2 (...
3 votes
6 answers
199 views

What is the basis of the sunk cost fallacy?

Is the so called sunk cost fallacy truly a total fallacy, or does it have some kernel of truth? Certainly it is a widespread instinctive/impulsive form of reasoning. Presumably it must then have had ...
2 votes
2 answers
120 views

What’s the logical fallacy that’s based on “what could have been” arguments?

I’ve recently become interested with religious philosophy, and when researching I often come across this line of thought: “it would’ve been better if life hadn’t been created at all, because living is ...
2 votes
2 answers
106 views

Experiencing and sensing time dilation when a person dies and the logic of

It is well known that when a person goes to sleep, there are instances when we do not experience time which has phenomenological implications. There is a temporal discontinuity. It is also known that ...
23 votes
7 answers
17k views

What's so fallacious about the Slippery Slope Fallacy?

When you look at the world, I think it's a rather non-controversial statement that a good percentage, if not a majority, of social problems are caused by people making choices based solely on short-...
51 votes
13 answers
28k views

Why do they say I am committing a fallacy when I am just insulting someone?

On the internet, one is often accused of committing the so-called 'ad hominem'-fallacy, which, according to Sikipedia, is defined as a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of ...
8 votes
7 answers
996 views

Can reason be precisely defined?

Reason, or rationality, is classically defined as deriving a conclusion from observations. Again, classically this is achieved by the application of logic. Aristotle explained it in this way. There ...
1 vote
3 answers
77 views

On Modus Ponens/Tollens Fallacies

Modus Ponens IF p THEN q p Ergo, q Valid! Modus Tollens IF p THEN q ~q Ergo, ~p Valid! Converse Fallacy IF p THEN q q Ergo, p Invalid! Inverse Fallacy IF p THEN q ~p Ergo, ~q Invalid. ...
2 votes
1 answer
121 views

Is there such a thing as a Conflation Fallacy? Or something like it?

I commonly find this phenomenon when debating, where my statement is conflated with another similar statement or idea. For example, if Person A. said "X is the highest grossing Horror movie of ...
21 votes
14 answers
12k views

Which fallacy: "If white privilege exists, why did Elizabeth Warren pretend to be an Indian?"

I recently came across this meme. It's clearly a logical fallacy (the existence of one use of a socioeconomic tool other than white privilege does not preclude the existence of white privilege), but I'...
1 vote
4 answers
751 views

What is the name of this logical fallacy: Why should your god be the one?

Even if there is a deity, why should your god be the one? This is a common response from the nonbelievers. I assert that it is a logical fallacy, not because the statement in itself is totally ...
0 votes
3 answers
420 views

Which kind of fallacy is a fallacy that associates a person to the negative ideas of a group he doesnt belong to?

There is 3 types of fallacies that comes to my mind for this, Fallacy of straw man A straw man (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression ...
3 votes
1 answer
102 views

Category errors and positive properties

A category error is what you get when you assert of an object x a property p which makes no sense when applied to x. Examples: The number two is red. The number two was created at time t. The dog is ...
5 votes
2 answers
201 views

What's the official term for interpreting an ambiguous argument into the worst possible way?

I've come across a type of argument I hear often when discussing touchier subjects. I call it "The Worst Possible Interpretation Argument". It goes like this — I say "I agree or support ...
1 vote
3 answers
182 views

Is the principle of charity just confirmation bias?

The principle of charity seems absolutely integral to studying philosophy in any way at all. How does an overlap of charity and confirmation bias work out, either in the class room or in philosophical ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the name of this fallacy: "You don't have an explanation for x but I do, so I'm correct and you are wrong"?

I hope this is the most correct stack exchange to ask this question. What is the name of the logical fallacy that follows: "You don't have an explanation for x but I do, so I'm correct and you are ...
1 vote
2 answers
110 views

What fallacy is it when someone accuses an entire group of hypocrisy, instead of taking into account individual opposing ideas?

For example - "You all claim to want women's liberation, yet you bully women into shaving. Therefore you don't truly want women's liberation." It's unlikely these contradictory actions/...
4 votes
11 answers
4k views

Is there a distance so small it can't be further divided?

If I shoot an arrow at a target, at some point it will reach one half of the distance to the target. Then it will reach one half of that distance. It will continue to reach the half of the previous ...

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