Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [fallacies]

concerns logical fallacies, which are errors in the logic or reasoning of an argument that result in a misconception or presumption

97
votes
14answers
34k views

What logical fallacy is “If you don't like it, move!”?

When criticizing government, society or whatever, people often retort, "If you don't like America, why don't you move somewhere else?" What kind of fallacy would this qualify as? At first glance, it ...
60
votes
6answers
11k views

Logical fallacy: X is bad, Y is worse, thus X is not bad

I have heard this type of argument too many times: You are criticising X using well researched facts and arguments. Your interlocutor, states that Y is much worse with equally well researched facts ...
52
votes
12answers
25k 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 ...
32
votes
12answers
12k views

Is circular reasoning always a fallacy?

Suppose the following dialogue: ... "I accept only one notion of land property. Namely, 'I am doing my stuff here, therefore I am here". "But this means," he responded, "you can break ...
29
votes
4answers
7k views

Does the no true Scotsman fallacy apply to anti Stalinist etc. communism?

The internet is awash with claims that anyone arguing that Stalinist Russia / Maoism wasn't communist is committing the no true Scotsman / ad hoc rescue fallacy. However, I suspect that few of its ...
29
votes
5answers
8k views

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 ...
28
votes
8answers
8k 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 ...
25
votes
10answers
4k views

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 ...
21
votes
5answers
7k 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-...
18
votes
6answers
2k 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"...
17
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Was Plato using strawmen in his dialogues?

In Plato's Dialogues, he often would put words into the mouths of two opposing points-of-view, while inserting a third voice, often initially presented as taking a position between the two viewpoints, ...
14
votes
2answers
13k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Complete list of logical fallacies [closed]

I have done some reading around philosophy SO and found a lot of known logical 'fallacies'. I have noticed them being used by quite a few individuals around me. I am looking to get as complete as ...
13
votes
4answers
671 views

What fallacy excludes “outsiders” from discussing “insider” issue?

I see this a lot on the internet, especially as of late with what's trending in the news: You're a man, so you're not allowed to comment on women's issues. You're a woman, so you're not ...
13
votes
4answers
672 views

Name for reverse Ad Hominem, (i.e. praising the defense)?

Is there a standard name for a fallacy of the same form as an ad hominem, except that instead of denouncing the opposition, it praises the defense? Typically an ad hominem ("against the man") fallacy ...
12
votes
3answers
689 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there a name for the fallacy that refuting the argument refutes the conclusion?

Is there a name for the fallacy that refuting an argument refutes the proposition? e.g. there is a belief in X.. somebody provides an argument for X.. or even a bunch of arguments for X. Somebody ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the fallacy in comparing evolution to a fairy tale?

I found the following statement on this Creationist site. If a fair maiden kisses a frog which instantly changes into a handsome prince we would call it a fairy tale. But if the frog takes 40 ...
10
votes
4answers
434 views

Are all fallacies created equal?

That is, are some fallacies considered worse than others, or does each fallacy have the same weight? For example, are formal fallacies considered "worse" than informal fallacies or vice versa? For ...
10
votes
6answers
423 views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
212 views

What is the term for an argument where denial of the proposition can be used as evidence of the proposition's truthfulness?

I've seen this used enough times that there's probably a formal name for it, but I don't know what it is. For example, from Catch-22: "I think I'm going crazy." "Only a sane person is capable ...
8
votes
5answers
929 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
982 views

What's the name for an argument that “this book or this person says P is true, therefore P must be true”?

People often claim P is true because a single book or person says P is true. This is most often the case when the book or the person is said to be divine. So is it a fallacy when people theorise the ...
8
votes
2answers
515 views

is “2+3=6, then 2+3+1=7” an example of the fallacy fallacy?

Is "if 2+3=6, then 2+3+1=7" an example of a fallacy fallacy or argumentum ad logicam? I believe it is an example of the fallacy fallacy, but I'm not able to show it. I only think it is a fallacy ...
8
votes
5answers
597 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Is “if A then B; B therefore A” a subset of the “post hoc” fallacy?

Recently, I read the following comment: If you aren't pissing someone off some of the time, you're not doing anything very useful or interesting. The context was that some people were pissed off ...
8
votes
1answer
878 views

Logical fallacy classification: comparing the best from one group with the worst in another

I am looking for the name for the logical fallacy that compares the best samples from one group with the worst samples from the second group and concludes that the first group is better than the ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
8
votes
8answers
346 views

What name or label applies to a statement the very act of making which contradicts its truth?

Consider a proposition stating something to be true that by the very act of stating denies truth to the speaker. This is not a fallacy, which is an argument incorrect by virtue of its form. But I am ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the fallacy: “Nothing bad has happened, so nothing bad will happen”

I was talking to a small business owner the other day. When asked why they never incorporated in order to limit their liability, their explanation was, to paraphrase, "nothing bad has happened to us ...
8
votes
2answers
234 views

Are there terms for being “inside” vs “outside” an argument?

Say that Jim successfully argues that A implies B. He then establishes that A is true, and therefore B is true. Then say that Bob comes along and says, "Well, what about K?" Meaning, that he believes ...
8
votes
7answers
775 views

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
1k 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. ...
7
votes
5answers
325 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
280 views

What is fallacious about an argument that “I know X well, so she is right”?

I often hear from media personalities that they are right about a theory or assertion merely by associating themselves with someone or something. For example: "I know Mr. X very well (for years) and ...
7
votes
2answers
164 views

On Mastering Topics of a Certain Difficulty

I have a simple problem that I and my friend conjured up. Suppose we were given a person, Alice, who claimed that she had demonstrable mastery to some (quantifiable) level L of some subject. Is it ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a “straw man” argument? [closed]

What is a "straw man" argument? Assuming an interlocutor is utilizing such an argument against you, what are some techniques for countering it? What motivations might lie behind a disputant using a ...
7
votes
1answer
137 views

What is the name of the fallacy that only reasons about an action in itself, outside of its context?

This would cover an argument that ignores the broader implications of an action. General or repeated instances of the action would lead to results different from the user's claim. The argument is ...
7
votes
8answers
458 views

Does the Fallacy Fallacy make logic useless?

I should add 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, ...
7
votes
3answers
158 views

What is the utility of the named logical fallacies?

It is popular to provide an argument that one does not like and ask "what is the name of the logical fallacy in this argument." However, given a name for such a fallacy, what value does knowing that ...
7
votes
3answers
152 views

If a claim is supported by a valid authority does the burden of proof shift?

Say person 1 believes x because a valid authority said so. Person 2 is skeptical of said claim and asks person 1 to present the evidence that supports the claim. Person 1 says he doesn't have to and ...
7
votes
5answers
164 views

Is this a fallacy: no argument against X, therefore X?

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine, a vegan. Here's what she said: "I was talking to a vegan philosopher once, and he said that he is a vegan because there is no good argument against veganism"...
7
votes
4answers
564 views

Is there a term for the absence of evidence fallacy with regard to scientific falsification?

If one looks at the roots of science, it is not founded on being right, but on being easy to prove wrong. Popper's concept of falsification puts this in words. I see many who see the absence of ...
6
votes
3answers
457 views

Have any philosophers argued that ad hominems are sometimes valid?

As far as I can tell, the position that ad hominem attacks are always invalid seems to be widespread within the philosophical community. I'm not entirely convinced that this is a reasonable position, ...
6
votes
3answers
729 views

What is the fallacy where you completely discredit someone because of a single mistake?

Someone recently told me he felt that an entire scientific field's consensus is invalid because some of its scientists had come to what he believes were incorrect conclusions in the past. For example,...
6
votes
2answers
627 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

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/...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...