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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What fallacy dismisses problems by presenting "bigger" problems?

Wasn't really sure how to phrase this, but I'm thinking of an instance in which someone diminishes a problem by presenting one of larger scope - as a rather shoddy example, "x political problem in ...
user2871915's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are "if smoke then fire" arguments deductive or inductive?

I'm new to philosophy and have a question regarding deductive vs. inductive reasoning: I'm told that "John ate a strange plant in the forest and got sick. Clearly, the plant made John sick." I ...
Ben's user avatar
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6 answers
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Is it a logical flaw to blame someone for an event if they were simply its causal factor?

I would ask if this is a logical fallacy, but I don't think you can consider wrongful attribution of blame to be a logical fallacy, because attributing blame is a normative claim, not a descriptive ...
Bridgeburners's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

What fallacy dismisses a conclusion because supporters give invalid arguments for it?

A person dismisses an otherwise valid argument, because some of its proponents support it for the wrong reason. How is this fallacy called? EDIT: Here is an example. A person defends the idea that ...
martinkunev's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
935 views

Is the use of inconsistent definitions a logical fallacy?

I am not asking for a defense of or pro/con of the existence of an omnipotent (or multiple omni-x) being, or for the existence of square-circles or any other similar thing. These arguments are well ...
LightCC's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
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What fallacy argues that we should do nothing because we can not do everything?

A says to B "we should recycle because it is better for the environment," and person B says "if we wanted to be better environmentally, there's lots of things we could do that we don't, so we shouldn'...
ervid's user avatar
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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 ...
Meanach's user avatar
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3 votes
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Is there a suppressed premise in Anselm's Ontological Argument?

Source: 5 minutes 20 seconds juncture; Lecture 1, Video 4 (transcription); MITx: 24.00x Introduction to Philosophy; by MIT Associate Prof Caspar Hare PhD (Princeton) [...] Suppose God existed in ...
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6 votes
6 answers
4k views

Is death impossible because it is impossible to be conscious of being unconscious? [closed]

I looked at a site called The Truth Contest which is a compliation of what "The ultimate truth" is. One of the ideas explored is immortality. Here is an excerpt: You are immortal; it is impossible ...
HazHazzard's user avatar
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 ...
Crab Bucket's user avatar
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Why there are so many blunders/fallacies in Plato's Dialogues?

Several recent researchers discuss Plato's fallacies or reasoning flaws in his writings (see list of references). Yet what remains mostly unclear is why there are so many logical errors/fallacies/...
Oliver Amundsen's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
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Deduction vs Induction -- are they equally valid?

I've been reading on deduction vs induction as two primary modes of reasoning. Can't exactly remember where but I have also seen deduction being described as backward and induction as forward thinking....
amphibient's user avatar
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30 votes
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Is "I cannot imagine a mechanism for X to happen, so X can never happen" a named logical fallacy?

I have encountered this reasoning quite frequently: Somebody posits the hypothesis that an event X can happpen. A recent example I encountered was "vinegar and salt in the boiling water make eggs ...
rumtscho's user avatar
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12 answers
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Innocent until proven guilty - why?

What is the philosophical basis for the notion that somebody is "innocent until proven guilty"? This seems to imply that we can confidently assert that a person is innocent until proof to the ...
Dabel's user avatar
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2 answers
284 views

'I flunked every thing, but you have to let me pass.' How is this an Appeal to Pity?

[Source:] I know I flunked every exam, but if I don't pass this course, I'll have to retake it in summer school. You have to let me pass! Why is this a fallacy? I agree that the speaker desires ...
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30 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 ...
Lou's user avatar
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22 votes
10 answers
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Is it a fallacy to say that a sane person cannot apply rational thought to the motivations of the insane?

A common argument in today's news is that: Someone commits a heinous crime by shooting a bunch of people. Anyone who commits a heinous crime must be insane. Sane people cannot apply rational thought ...
YPCrumble's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
3k views

What fallacy dismisses criticism of a bad law with "just don't break it"?

Let's say someone is criticizing the government for instituting some draconian policy, and/or for persecuting people for doing something minor. And the response is:"Just don't do it and you'll be fine"...
Legend of Overfiend's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
564 views

What are some non-trivial examples of the use/mention error?

Examples of use/ mention fallacies one often encounters are toy examples, such as : (1) The Morning Star is Venus. (2) Venus is a 5 letters word. (3) Therefore the Morning Star is a 5 letters word. (1)...
Floridus Floridi's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
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Is argument that two theories are equally valid because I am not an expert "argument ad ignoratum"

I am trying to get to grips with an argument with a friend, whereby he argues that because he does not have the full facts or because one theory is not 100% proven means that both competing theories ...
Nat's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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name this fallacy: A was P in the past -> A must be P now

I've been seeing arguments of this form for awhile: (agreed true premise) Some predicate P was applicable to behavior/event/thing A in the past. Variations: P(A) may have been true at some particular ...
TomRoche's user avatar
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3 votes
6 answers
2k views

"I have lied but I am not a liar, and I have done bad things but I am not a bad man."

What logical fallacy would this be? I am doing a project and I need to identify what kind of logical fallacy this would represent.
Sadie's user avatar
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Is there a logical fallacy to describe the complete dismissal of the value of scientific consensus?

I was arguing with a climate change denier. He said that appealing to a scientific consensus, even one as overwhelming as 97%, is fundamentally an appeal to authority fallacy and hence invalid. He ...
Vikram's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
497 views

What is the fallacy that privileges one person over another?

I see this a lot, someone in a category of people attempts to shut down anyone with an opinion that is not from the same category. For example, people without children weighing in on parenting; the ...
Sindyr's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
187 views

What do we explictly refer to in mathematical expressios

My friend has a theory about 'instantiation' of numbers, they believe that every time we think of a number we create an 'instance' of it in our own heads, it's the same idea, but each time we think, ...
Confused's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is a barber a barber if he doesn't get paid?

For reference: The Barber Paradox. The Barber is he who shaves all those, and only those, who doesn't shave themselves. Now the question is: Who shaves the Barber? The paradox being that if the ...
christo183's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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How fallacious is tu quoque or look-who's-talking fallacy?

It is a very common fallacy that I've seen in many circles - In the world of media and in everyday life. In some cases it doesn't feel like a fallacy, but seems to make a point in that particular ...
Renae Lider's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
230 views

How is this specific type of argumentation called, is it a fallacy?

I often encounter this type of argumentation in discussions about scientific discoveries with layman. For example when discussing GMO (genetically modified organisms) an argument that is often made is ...
CuriousIndeed's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
882 views

Is determinism logically flawed?

If determinism is true, every event shall have a cause. So, what is the cause of the first event (which is the first cause)? Conflict (paradox): 1) every event shall have a cause -> First event/...
bs12345's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Which Informal Fallacy(ies)? 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.'

Source: p 130-131, With Good Reason, An Introduction to Informal Fallacies (2000 6 ed) by York U. Prof. S. Morris Engel. [p 130 :] Identify the fallacy of ambiguity — equivocation, amphiboly, ...
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44 votes
12 answers
17k views

Fallacy by Sherlock Holmes 'Eliminate the impossible, and what remains must be the truth'

In The Sign of Four, Holmes asks Watson: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" This may be ...
Mogli's user avatar
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26 votes
8 answers
10k views

If the Bible contains circular reasoning, does it discredit it?

If the Bible contains circular reasoning, does it discredit it? One of the reasons why I wonder about this is because in most academic/professional fields circular reasoning would discredit the ...
Programmer's user avatar
18 votes
10 answers
7k views

What is the name of this fallacy: 101 is either binary or decimal?

A similar example would be of binary and decimal number where we are not sure about the number system. For example, The person who proposed a number is not remotely available to disclose about number ...
Ubi.B's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers
6k views

Do "if everybody did it" arguments commit a fallacy?

Who is committing a fallacy in this discussion, and what kind of fallacy is it? A: There's nothing wrong with killing people at random B: If everybody did it, you would too most likely be a random ...
Kolia's user avatar
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16 votes
7 answers
7k views

What's the name of the logical fallacy where a debater extends a statement far beyond the original statement to make it true?

Suppose that someone initially states that "fossil fuel consumption due to mobile phone usage is similar to that of private transportation, so if you think we should switch to electric/bike to fight ...
DeltaIV's user avatar
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9 votes
10 answers
2k views

Does the Fallacy Fallacy make logic useless?

I should note that I'm not a formal student of philosophy and haven't studied it in any serious depth. I just like logic, and logical fallacies. I like to spot them, and I like to debate using them, ...
Hashim Aziz's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

Inadequately small sample fallacy

I am almost sure there is a name for the fallacy whereby its exponent tries to apply a very small sample of observation, usually anecdotal evidence, as representative of the population, of which that ...
amphibient's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
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What is an 'argumentum ad lapidem'? [closed]

I've seen philosophical arguments descriped as 'argumentum ad lapidem', but never quite understood what the criticism is trying to indicate. As best I can tell, it's a dismissal of an argument with ...
Jez's user avatar
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8 votes
7 answers
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What point is Richard Dawkins trying to make here? Is it a fallacy?

Richard Dawkins said It is often said, mainly by the 'no-contests', that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best ...
dududududu's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
537 views

Asymmetries in two opposite arguments from ignorance

Joe claims: "There is no proof that unicorns exist, therefore unicorns do not exist". Alice claims: "There is no proof that unicorns do not exist, therefore unicorns exist". Bob claims: "There is no ...
Hello World's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

Can an argument be formally valid with sound premises and still be informally fallacious?

Consider the following two assumptions: Validity Assumption: Assume an argument is valid. It follows all the formal logical rules of inference. The inference contains no formal logical fallacy. ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What fallacy infers motivation from mere description?

Here's some example: "Men dominate women in the majority of fortune top 100 CEO positions" "Women dominate men in primary school teaching jobs" Neither the men nor the women are actually purposely ...
John Cooper's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
220 views

What fallacy assumes that being familiar with something makes one an expert on it?

In the article Why We Shouldn't Fear Artificial Intelligence, the author writes:"A common fallacy suggests that, because AI are hosted on computers, they’ll be good at manipulating them. But let me ...
bobby nolar's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
888 views

Is the argument 'you cannot claim that "God doesn't exist" because you cannot demonstrate this inexistence' an argumentum ad ignorantiam?

I'm able to tell this is an example of argumentum ad ignorantiam, "I can't prove the existence of god, therefore, god doesn't exist." But what about the sentence "One should never claim that "God ...
Coderama's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
478 views

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

Source: p 153 footnote, Thinking like a Lawyer, by Frederick Schauer [1.] And in this article Russell took on a well-known fallacy that plagues legal as well as political argument. Lawyers all ...
user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
12k views

How does one differentiate between premise and proposition?

I find it difficult to differentiate between premises and propositions. Given these statements: "If men evolved from apes then there wouldn't be any ape nowadays." "There are apes ...
Coderama's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
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Is it possible to appeal to emotion without commiting a fallacy?

People often make arguments from authority, and not all of them are fallacious. If the given authority is an expert on the discussed field, if there is a consensus among the experts of that field, and ...
Alexandre Pinho's user avatar
5 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is it an informal fallacy to call an argument ridiculous without pointing out the flaw?

I think it is one kind of informal fallacy to dismiss a logical argument by just calling it ridiculous without actually showing how the argument is invalid. At first, I thought it to be ad hominem as ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there an Informal Fallacy for misusing/overidentifying Informal Fallacies in an argument?

I frequently find myself reading discussions where people use Informal Fallacies as if they are invincible battering rams that destroy any argument they encounter. For example, somebody might say "...
Bug Catcher Nakata's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
714 views

Is it a fallacy to claim someone is committing a fallacy without explaining why?

Making use of an argument about a subject X, Person 1 presents his view to Person 2. Then Person 2, who is against that position, simply makes the following claim: "Hey dude, you have committed the ...
Paul Jim's user avatar