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Division

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Division

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

X has characteristic Y. P is a part of X, so also has characteristic Y.

The general assumption is that the parts of a system all have characteristics of the whole system.

Example

Welsh people speak Welsh. You are Welsh -- so you can speak Welsh.

Cars go fast. A seat is a part of a car. So seats go fast.

Tomatoes are red. So the pips inside are also red.

You are work in Hewlett Packard, which makes computers. So you can make computers.

Discussion

There are two ways for this to fail: First, the assumed characteristic of the group may not be true for all members and, secondly, the characteristic that is true of the whole is not applicable to the individual parts. This latter case happens when the individual parts create a whole, where the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

This fallacy fails when the unspoken assumption about the characteristics of the group are not true for all members of the  group. This is typically true of groups of people, where the attribution of generalized characteristics form a stereotype, which is then applied to individual members.

Going from the general to the specific is deductive reasoning. Division seeks to use this rational process, but does it in an inadequate and invalid way.

Division is one of Aristotle's 13 fallacies.

Classification

Analogy, Assumptive, Ambiguity, Linguistic

Also known as

Faulty Deduction

See also

Composition, Deductive reasoning

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