Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies

Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies ~ Existential Fallacy


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  • Existential Fallacy

    Category: fallacies:

    Definition: A particular conclusion is drawn from universal premises



    A standard form categorical syllogism with two universal premises has a particular conclusion. The idea is that some universal properties need not be instantiated. It may be true that 'all trespassers will be shot' even if there are no trespassers. It may be true that 'all brakeless trains are dangerous' even though there are no brakeless trains. That is the point of this fallacy.

    Assume that the premises are true, but that there are no instances of the category described. For example, in (i) above, assume there are no mice, and in (ii) above, assume there are no honest people. This shows that the conclusion is false. Copi and Cohen: 210

    Created by Stephen Downes, Copyright 2023 CC By-NC-SA