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Accident

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Accident

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

X is explained by rule Y. But X does not fall under Y.

A general rule is used to explain a specific case that does not fall under its rule.

Example

Rich people like to receive good service. You therefore must like good service.

You can't go there, Mr. President. Nobody is allowed in.

It is wrong to hurt people. You should not have hit that person who was attacking you.

Discussion

What often happens here is that the general rule being used is either assumed to have a wider scope (being more general) than is reasonable, or that it is simply mismatched with the case that it is being used to cover.

Accident often appears to be using deductive reasoning and hence seems to carry reasonable logic.

We have a deep need to explain things that happen, which leads to many people accepting a general rule as explanation for a specific case, even when that rule clearly does not apply. A convenient Accident may thus be used deliberately when there is no general rule available.

Accident is one of Aristotle's 13 fallacies.

Classification

Ambiguity, Assumptive, Deductive

Also known as

Dicto Simpliciter (spoken simply), Destroying the Exception, Sweeping Generalization

See also

Need to explain, Deductive reasoning, Logic principle

 

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