Association fallacy

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An Venn diagram showing the association fallacy. Although A is within B and is also within C, not all of B is within C.

An association fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone says that a quality of one thing must applies to another just because they share a similar quality or belief. It can be used in a positive or negative way.

It follows the general outline, A is a B, A is also a C, therefore, all Bs are Cs.

An example of an association fallacy being used in positive way (called pro hominem, or honour by association) is as follows:[1]

  • Citizens of Country X won more Nobel Prizes, gold medals, and literary awards than citizens of Country Y. Therefore, a citizen of Country X is superior to a citizen of Country Y.

An example of an association fallacy being used in a negative way (called guilt by association) is as follows:[2]

  • John is a shoplifter. John has black hair. Therefore, all people with black hair are shoplifters.

References[change | change source]

  1. Mauk, John (2015). Inventing Arguments, Brief. Cengage Learning. p. 53. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. "Fallacy: Guilt By Association." The Nizkor Project. The Nizkor Project, n.d. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/guilt-by-association.html>.