Afterall.net

Consider all. Test All. Hold on to the good.

Illogic Primer Quotes Clippings Books and Bibliography Paper Trails Links Film

Irrelevant Conclusion

An argument which purports to prove one thing instead proves a different conclusion.

Examples
  1. You should support the new housing bill. We can't continue to see people living in the streets; we must have cheaper housing. (We may agree that housing is important even though we disagree with the housing bill.)
  2. I say we should support affirmative action. White males have run the country for 500 years. They run most of government and industry today. You can't deny that this sort of discrimination is intolerable. (The author has proven that there is discrimination, but not that affirmative action will end that discrimination.)
Critique
Show that the conclusion proved by the author is not the conclusion that the author set out to prove.

About Stephen Downes

Many kudos are owed to Stephen Downes, the logician who originally authored this list of fallacies and made it freely available on the Web. His basic structure remains. A mirror of Downes’ original site can be found here.