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fallacy of accident

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


L ogic Aristotle claimed that it is a fallacy to take an accidental property to be an essential one. The most often quoted example is: “This dog is yours; this dog is a father; therefore this dog is your father.” A fallacy of accident later came to be considered erroneous reasoning from a general rule to a particular case having accidental circumstances which prevent the general rule from applying to it unless the general rule is qualified in some way. For instance, “It is a virtue to tell the truth; so I should tell John that he has cancer.” In such a characterization, a fallacy of accident is always equated with a fallacy of secundum quid , although the latter covers a wider range. “The fallacy of accident consists in applying a general rule to a particular case whose ‘accidental’ circumstances render the rule inapplicable.” Copi, Introduction to Logic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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