Fallacy Fallacy

Taxonomy: Logical Fallacy > Formal Fallacy > Bad Reasons Fallacy > Fallacy Fallacy



Argument A for the conclusion C is fallacious.
Therefore, C is false.


Like anything else, the concept of logical fallacy can be misunderstood and misused, and can even become a source of fallacious reasoning. To say that an argument is fallacious is, among other things, to claim that there is not a sufficiently strong logical connection between the premisses and the conclusion. This says nothing about the truth or falsity of the conclusion, so it is unwarranted to conclude that it's false simply because some argument for it is fallacious.

It's easy to come up with fallacious arguments for a proposition, whether true or false. What can be hard is to find a cogent argument for it, even when it's true. For example, it's now believed by mathematicians that the proposition known as "Fermat's last theorem" is true, yet it took over three centuries for anyone to prove it. In the meantime, many invalid arguments were presented for it.



David Hackett Fischer, Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (Harper & Row, 1970), pp. 305-306.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Adrian Larson.