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Composition

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Composition

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

If A is X and B is X then the group to which A and B belong are all X.

Given a number of unrelated items, they are taken as being members of a distinct group, about which general attributes may be identified.

These attributes may well be taken from a limited number of items or parts and generalized up to the whole.

Example

All people in this town are idiots.

These two tools are blunt. The whole box of tools must be blunt.

Oxygen and hydrogen are gases at room temperature. Therefore water (H20) is a gas at room temperature.

Discussion

This seeks to use inductive reasoning, but does so falsely, generalizing when there is no sound rationale for doing so. This is the basis of stereotyping, which is a Composition fallacy.

The generalization that is taking place may be due to sloppy thinking or may be a deliberate way of seeking a general rule (which may then be applied deductively elsewhere).

Composition is one of Aristotle's 13 fallacies.

Classification

Ambiguity, Analogy, Inductive, Linguistic

Also known as

Generalization, Faulty Induction

See also

Division, Inductive reasoning, Stereotypes

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