Fallacies from Chapter 5 - 5469
if parts have X then whole has X
Assuming that a whole item has a certain property because all of the parts do
P1 has X
P2 has X
P3 has X
Pn has X
Whole has X
How to Explain
Point out that argument ignores quantity or interaction of parts
All the members of the team are good players. Thus, the team will be good.
1. Composition is the assumption that what's true of each part of a whole item MUST also be true of the whole item itself. This fallacy is committed somewhat rarely, but because of this it is not easily recognized.
2. There is a flaw in reasoning when going from the parts having a certain property to the whole having that property. The flaw is in not recognizing the quantity of the parts or the interaction between the parts.
3. Composition is sometimes called the 'Salesman's Fallacy'. The salesman quotes low payments and the assumption is that if each payment for a product is low then the total amount of all the payments MUST be low. In this case, the assumption ignores the quantity of the payments.
4. Even though many teams are probably going to be good because they have all good players, it is not necessarily the case since the team chemistry may be poor. One sometimes assumes that because a team has good players then the team MUST be a good team. In this case, the assumption ignores the interaction between the parts of the whole.
player1 is a good player
player2 is a good player
player3 is a good player
thus...the team must be good
5. Composition on the Internet
1. Since every part of the machine is light in weight, we can assume the machine is light in weight.
Analysis: Ignores quantity of the parts. The machine may consist of a very large number of light weight parts, thus making it a fairly heavy machine as a whole.
2. I don't lose that much when I go to Reno since I only bet the quarter slot machines.
Analysis: Ignores quantity of the parts. You can bet a lot of quarters in the slot machines and after awhile they really add up.
3. Every ship in the fleet is battle ready. Thus, the fleet must be battle ready.
Analysis Ignores interaction between the parts. Perhaps the coordination between the ships is not that good.
4. We don't spend that much on military salaries. Whoever heard of anyone getting rich in the Army?
Analysis Ignores quantity of the parts. Just because we don't spend that much on service personnel individually doesn't mean we don't spend that much on them as a group.
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Last updated: 15:23 on 30 January 2013
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