Firmitas

Division

Revision 1
© 2011-2019 by Zack Smith. All rights reserved.

Division

Division is a fallacy of assuming that a characteristic of the whole somehow transfers to all of its parts. Thus, if A is such a way, therefore its other parts B, C, and D must be such a way.

  • Object A has some characteristic C.
  • Therefore subparts X and Y also have characteristic C. ]]

The reverse of this fallacy is Composition.

Examples

A lobster is conspicuously hard and tough. Therefore its innards are very hard and tough.

A person has cancer, therefore her entire body is full of cancers, including her toenails and hair.

A government is boring and formal, therefore all government workers are boring and formal.

Weaknesses

You need merely to provide exceptions to show that the specified characterestic does not apply to the parts of the whole.

Because this fallacy encourages simplistic reasoning, the debunker may find himself up against emotional thinkers who wish to rush to judgment, assign blame and perhaps even inflict punishment on all the parts of the whole, or prominent parts, especially when the whole is a group of people.