Denying the antecedent:

Formal Fallacy
Definition Example
When the consequent in an indicative conditional is claimed to be false because the antecedent is false; if A, then B; not A, therefore not B. If I were a movie star, I’d be popular. But I’m not a movie star, so I’m not popular.
  Notes
This is a formal fallacy of the following fallacious form.

If P, then Q
Not Q
Therefore, not P


Case Study One

Some might deny the antecedent by arguing “If you work hard, you will get a good job. Therefore, if you do not work hard you will not get a good job.” While this seems intuitively true to some degree, this argument is fallacious.


Case Study Two

“If you life by the train tracks, you can not sleep well. You don’t live by by the train tracks, so you can sleep well.”


Case Study Three

“If we hire more police officers, crime will drop. We have not hired more police officers, so crime has not dropped.”


Case Study Four

If Chuck Norris becomes president, taxes will decrease. Chuck Norris has not become president. So, taxes have not decreased.


Case Study Five

“If he were married, he would have no time to drink with his friends. He is not married, and therefore has time to drink with his friends.”


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


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