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Is This a Logical Fallacy?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Is the bolded a logical fallacy of some kind? My friend posted this on his facebook page but I can't really identify if it a specific fallacy or just a couple put together.
Quote:
I have noticed that what can be validated piecemeal can sometimes result in an invalid aggregate. Do my more learned friends out there know a logical fallacy that names this phenomenon?
Quote:
Let’s say someone has an overall philosophy of life that also has a number of individual principles. They take individual issues in the world, line them up with those principles and validate or invalidate them. However, considering the relationship of those validated points to the total philosophy, they contradict it. It seems to me there must be a logical fallacy that acknowledges this error.

Then, someone then mentioned this:
Quote:
Probably the fallacy of composition comes closest to what I think you mean. So many logical mistakes can be made with true propositions, since as a fallacy is a flaw in logical form.

Edited by Tck13 - 5/9/13 at 8:23pm
post #2 of 7
That's not a fallacy of composition. A fallacy of composition is where you take one part of the whole, verify it's characteristics, and then assume the whole shares the same characteristics.

Ex - John is a part of the human race and he is brave. Therefore all humans are brave.

What's being described does not sound like a fallacy at all. If A, B, C, and D make up object E and you can independently verify that A, B, C, and D possess characteristic X then E will also possess characteristic X.
Quote:
They take individual issues in the world, line them up with those principles and validate or invalidate them. However, considering the relationship of those validated points to the total philosophy, they contradict it.

This doesn't make any sense. Does the person have an example?
post #3 of 7
That is a fallacy of composition, which is to conclude from some quality of the parts the same quality of the whole. For example, each of the cells that I'm made of is tiny, therefore I am tiny.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by harvey_birdman View Post

That's not a fallacy of composition. A fallacy of composition is where you take one part of the whole, verify it's characteristics, and then assume the whole shares the same characteristics.

Ex - John is a part of the human race and he is brave. Therefore all humans are brave.

What's being described does not sound like a fallacy at all. If A, B, C, and D make up object E and you can independently verify that A, B, C, and D possess characteristic X then E will also possess characteristic X.
This doesn't make any sense. Does the person have an example?

Hmmm. I could try to ask for another example. Unfortunately, this may have been a stupid idea playing the middle man between facebook and here. I was thinking that it might be an easy, obvious answer for someone so I thought I'd post it. Also, I'll post the rest below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by L'Incandescent View Post

That is a fallacy of composition, which is to conclude from some quality of the parts the same quality of the whole. For example, each of the cells that I'm made of is tiny, therefore I am tiny.



Here's more. It's not much of a conversation (It IS facebook after all):
Quote:
***Probably the fallacy of composition comes closest to what I think you mean. So many logical mistakes can be made with true propositions, since as a fallacy is a flaw in logical form.
Quote:
Wednesday at 5:27pm · Like
*** That and its counterpart, the fallacy of division, are leading in the right direction. I think elements of both of these fallacies may lead to the error I perceive.
post #5 of 7
It's really hard to know what your friend means, in large part because of the way he's using the word "valid." It's not clear to me what a "valid aggregate" would be. Typically, we use the word valid to describe arguments, not things or individual propositions. Individual propositions are either true or false, but not valid or invalid. I'm guessing the aggregate he has in mind is a theory or a general belief system; if so, it's not the sort of thing that can be valid or invalid. Maybe he just means true.

Also, I don't think there's a fallacy of division involved. That's the opposite of a fallacy of composition: you conclude from some quality of the whole that the parts have that same quality. For example, if the Yankees team batting average is .277, then each of the Yankees is batting .277. Whatever your friend has in mind, it looks more like a fallacy of composition.
post #6 of 7
I must respectfully disagree with the learned Prof, only in that this -
Quote:
Let’s say someone has an overall philosophy of life that also has a number of individual principles. They take individual issues in the world, line them up with those principles and validate or invalidate them. However, considering the relationship of those validated points to the total philosophy, they contradict it. It seems to me there must be a logical fallacy that acknowledges this error.

makes no sense whatsoever. Unless your friend can offer a specific example of what the fuck he means here there's no way we can understand what the fuck he means.
post #7 of 7
Interpreting that as charitably as I can, that sounds a little bit like what's called reflective equilibrium. All of us have beliefs about individual cases, principles by which we judge those individual cases, and then a more general outlook on life. For every one of us, there is some inconsistency between these different levels. That is because our views come from a thousand different sources; many of them we just pick up by osmosis. And so the process of reflective equilibrium is to bring our intuitions about particular cases into line with our more general views. Of course you can't really know in advance which is correct, our intuitions about particular cases or our general principles. We test each with reference to the other.

The fact that our intuitions about particular cases are out of line with our general principles isn't really a fallacy; it's just a basic feature of our thinking.
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