Abstraction fallacy:

Conceptual Fallacy
Definition Example
When a law abstracted from observation is considered to have no exceptions, and to be logically necessary. The law of gravity says that two objects of mass attract each other, so when physicists say gravity is repellent (during phase transitions), they don’t know what they’re talking about.
  Notes
In the gravity example, the very physicists who christened the “law of gravity” also believe it is repellent in some cases. Each law can be considered reliable to the extent of its predictive success as perceived by the individual, and may come with stipulations. This is a type of faulty generalization that often arises when induction justifiably categorizes an exception to an event or state extremely improbable. The fallacy arises when we say something that is physically improbable is logically impossible. A more detailed treatment of faulty generalizations can be found on the supplementary Inductive Errors page.

Case Study One

Consider the Law of Reciprocity. This law describes how healthy societies find cohesion when a critical level of altruism is reached among its constituents. However, its descriptive power is not enough imply that societies will actually cohere based on the presence of altruism


Case Study Two

The Law of Diminishing Returns is another good example. This law is an inductive generalization from our economic interactions. This law does not constrain economics, nor is prior to it, but rather economic phenomena determine our formulation of economic laws. The dynamics within the actual phenomena are logically prior to the abstraction/formulation of the emergent law.


Case Study Three

Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on a circuit board doubles about every 2 years, is another example. Due to physical constraints, this law is expected to fail at some point. This is also a type of human standard fallacy in which an artifact of human abstraction is given more authority than is warranted.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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