|An argument of the following form. Group “A” has negative quality “x” and member “a” belongs to group “A”. Therefore member “a” has negative quality “x”||Bankers are jerks, and because my neighbor is a banker, he must be a jerk.|
|Also known as: a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter / proof by example|
|A more detailed treatment of this fallacy can be found on the supplementary Inductive Errors page.|
Case Study One
If you learn that you have a tumor, the fact that many tumors are malignant, inoperable and fatal does not mean that you should despair since many tumors are benign, and if not, can be successfully treated. More information about the type and stage of the tumor is needed before any conclusions can be drawn about your particular tumor.
Case Study Two
If you have been bitten by the last 3 dogs you’ve approached, you are rational to be cautious about the next dog you approach in a similar context. However, 3 data points is a rather small sample size to draw any general conclusions. The fact that you have been bitten 3 times in a row may not much reflect as much on the general disposition of dogs than on the context in which you encounter them such as while you are climbing through a window to rob the dog’s owner.
Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.