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Tag: arguments (Page 1 of 2)

broken window fallacy

Broken Window Fallacy

The Broken Window Fallacy is an argument which disregards lost opportunity costs associated with destroying property of others, or the price of externalizing costs onto others.

A classic example of the Broken Window Fallacy is an argument which states that breaking a window generates income for a glazier, but disregards the fact that the money spent on the new window cannot now be spent on new shoes.

Another example of this fallacy is the argument for redistribution of wealth, or taxing those in higher income brackets more heavily in order to give to people who work less skilled jobs or don’t work as many hours.

The net effect of this is lost opportunity. Had those in the higher income brackets been taxed at a more fair, flat rate, they could have invested that saved tax money in businesses and created more jobs (an unseen benefit), but instead, their money is being stolen for the immediate seen benefit of handing out money to those in a lower income bracket.

While this will foster more spending (consumerism), it will not directly foster more value creation. It only recirculates the current wealth.

What fosters creation of value in the economy is hard work, not paper handouts.

Hard work promotes creation (making new widgets).

Handouts perpetuate consumption (redistributing and recirculating the widgets).

While at first glance robbing the rich and giving to the poor might seem like the most caring approach to managing the economy, in the long run, it actually hurts jobs – and consequently hurts everyone.


The lower wage earners have little incentive to work more – as they’ll get paid extra anyway – and the higher wage earners have less incentive to work more – because their money is going to get stolen anyway.

Their hard-earned money is going to be spent on people who want to work less rather than on jobs for people who want to work more and create new value.

This discourages everyone from working hard and creating value.

This wealth distribution externalizes a price onto higher wage earners. While redistributing the wealth may temporarily “fix” things – stimulating spending in the economy by the lower income bracket – in the long run, it damages the job creators of the economy – the “rich people”. Like them or not, they are our friends when it comes to helping the economy – if we’ll stop trying to rob them. If we hurt them, we hurt ourselves.

(Note: I am writing this as someone who is currently in a very low income bracket.)

Also, please note: I am not saying that it’s wrong to ever give to those in need. But the choice of where our money is allotted should be largely our prerogative. Why? Because we want to be assured that we are giving to someone who wants to work hard (has a good work ethic) and/or is in need, disabled, or otherwise preoccupied in serving family/community, and not someone who is perfectly capable of working more but isn’t really trying.

We want to be reasonably assured that our money is being entrusted to diligent and/or truly needy hands, rather than squandered on some lazy kid’s newest toy.

In this example, taxing “rich people” to give to the poor is breaking the window to “create money” for the window fitter.

But we had to destroy to create. We disregarded the fact that now the rich person can’t spend as much money on job creation (new shoes).

Please see disclaimer.

appeal to the stone fallacy

Appeal to the Stone (argumentum ad lapidem)

Dismissing a claim as absurd without demonstrating proof for its absurdity.

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gambler's fallacy - logic

Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the flawed belief that separate, independent events can affect the likelihood of another random event.

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ecological fallacy design, logic

Ecological Fallacy

Inferences about the nature of individuals are solely based on the aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong.

Similar to the Association Fallacy and the Fallacy of Division, the Ecological Fallacy makes inferences about individuals on the basis of a general group identity.

Example #1: Women are generally more empathic than men. Therefore, Ally is more empathic than Kyle.

Example #2: The majority of Republicans are not concerned about modern harmful agricultural practices. Amy is a Republican. Therefore, Amy doesn’t care about healthy living or the environment.

ecological fallacy illustration

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association fallacy illustration, logic, philosophy, arguments, reason, thinking

Association Fallacy (Guilt by Association and Honor by Association)

Arguing that because two things share (or are implied to share) some property, they are the same.

Premise: A is a B.

Premise: A is also a C.

Conclusion: Therefore, all Bs are Cs.

Association fallacy illustration

  • Benny is a con artist. Benny has black hair. Therefore, all people with black hair are con artists.
  • Simon, Karl, Jared, and Brett are all friends of Josh, and they are all petty criminals. Jill is a friend of Josh; therefore, Jill is a petty criminal.

Guilt by Association as an Ad Hominem Fallacy

Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem (“to the man”) fallacy.

In this twist of the Guilt by Association fallacy, the argument attacks a person because a specific or singular ideological similarity exists between the person making the argument and another unrelated (and hated) group.

This form of the argument is as follows:

  • Source S makes claim C.
  • Group G (which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient of source S’s claim) also makes claim C.
  • Therefore, source S is viewed as associated with – or similar to – group G, and source S inherits recipient R’s negative perception of group G.

guilt by association ad hominem fallacy illustration

“My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?”

In this case, the common interest (similarity) between the Puppy Haters and opponent O is that they both want O to get elected.

Guilt of puppy hating is being assigned to O because O and P.H. have similar political interests. (They may very well have different views on animal cruelty and treatment of puppies.)

Another example of this is when those opposed to “safe spaces” on college campuses – or opposed to the use of recently developed gender-neutral pronouns – are lumped together with white supremacists or the ill-defined alt-right.

While many white supremacists or “alt-righters” may hold similar stances on these issues, this does not mean that everyone who is similarly opposed to “safe spaces” or use of gender-neutral pronouns can be easily classified as a “white supremacist” or a “member of the alt-right”.

The entities in question might share opinions on some issues, but this does not mean that they agree on all issues (e.g. white supremacy, anti-Semitism, misogyny, etc.).

Guilt by Association as an Ad Hominem fallacy is a favorite among proponents of identity politics.

Honor by Association

The logical inverse of “guilt by association” is honor by association, where one claims that someone or something must be reputable, trustworthy, or reliable because of the people or organizations which are related to it or otherwise support it.

Many businesses heavily use the principle of honor by association in their advertisements and marketing. For example, an attractive spokesperson will say that a specific product is good. The attractiveness of the spokesperson gives the product good associations.

Some information and examples taken/adapted from Wikipedia.

Please see disclaimer.

argumentum ad populum, fallacies, logic, philosophy, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument

Appeal to the Majority (Appeal to Widespread Belief, Bandwagon Argument, Appeal to the People, Argumentum Ad Populum)

A proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because a majority or many people believe it to be so.


#1: Nine out of ten of my constituents oppose the bill, therefore it is a bad idea.

#2: Nine out of ten of my fellow congressmen favor the bill, therefore it is a good idea.

bandwagon argument illustration

#3: Brand X vacuum cleaners are the leading brand in America. You should buy Brand X vacuum cleaners.

#4: Watch Show X – the #1 watched show on television!

#5: Fifty million Elvis fans can’t be wrong.

#6: All of my friends are doing it.

#7: In a court of law, the jury vote by majority, therefore they will always make the correct decision.

#8: Everyone jaywalks here and as long as I look carefully, nothing will happen.

#9: Many people use agave nectar and believe it’s healthy, so it must be.

#10: Most dermatologists approve of and prescribe Accutane, so it must be safe.

#11: Many scientists say there isn’t a god of the universe, so there cannot be one.



Some information and examples taken/adapted from The Full Wiki


Please see disclaimer.






chronological snobbery fallacy - logic - clock on table

Fallacies – Chronological Snobbery

A thesis is deemed incorrect because it was commonly held when something else, known to be false, was also commonly held.


Mendel’s laws of inheritance (1865) cannot be correct, because some people (e.g. William Carpenter) also believed in a flat earth in 1865. Obviously, nothing good can come out of 1865.

chronological snobbery fallacy illustration

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Fallacies – Argument From Ignorance (Appeal to Ignorance, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam)

Assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa.


#1: Unicorns exist, because it cannot be proven that they don’t exist. (True because can’t be or hasn’t been proven false.)

argument from ignorance

#2: Whitney Houston wasn’t murdered, because it can’t be proven – or hasn’t been proven – that she was. (False because can’t be or hasn’t been proven true.) Although check this out:

Please see disclaimer.

argument from incredulity - appeal to common sense

Fallacies – Argument From Incredulity (Appeal to Common Sense)

“I cannot imagine how this could be true; therefore, it must be false.”

Ex. 1: “I cannot imagine how a person can become ‘successful’ overnight without pulling any strings. Therefore, such a person must have cheated.”

Ex. 2: “I cannot imagine how massive, “official” government-funded organizations could be untrustworthy. Any accusations against the integrity of these systems must be unfounded.”

Ex. 3: “I can’t imagine how a person could be smart, beautiful, and kind. Therefore, a person cannot possibly possess all three of these qualities.”

argument from incredulity (appeal to common sense) illustration

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved

argument from fallacy - or fallacy fallacy - illustration - chemistry, chemical equation, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur, water, dihydrogen oxide

Fallacies – Argument From Fallacy (the Fallacy Fallacy)

Assumption that if an argument for some conclusion is fallacious, the conclusion must also be false.


Bad argument: All blonde-haired people are sweet. Some sweet people are naive. Sally is blonde. Therefore, Sally must be sweet and naive.

(Sally does happen to be sweet and naive.)

The argument is a grossly illogical one, but the conclusion happens to be correct.

If we discredit the conclusion because of the poor argument, however, we would be committing the fallacy fallacy, or argument from fallacy.

It’s important to point out the logical flaws in an argument. But it’s also important to be aware that the conclusion may still be correct – it just hasn’t been defended well.


Bad argument: It’s ethical to defend the lives of unborn babies because they are cute.

While the conclusion is correct – every life matters – the argument is fallacious. It defends an ethical stance with an emotional argument. Emotions should not dictate ethics.

However, a conclusion should not automatically be presumed false simply because it is backed by a weak argument.

Please see Disclaimer.

© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


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