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necessarily goes, or necessarily stays) is not a free agent;
But every one either necessarily goes or stays (i. e., necessarily does one or the other);
.. No one is a free agent.
The following are examples of the Fallacy of Division :
5 is one number; 3 and 2 (collectively) are 5; .:. 3 and 2 (distributively) are one number.
The angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles;
A B C is an angle of a triangle;
All the black and white horses of the deceased i. e., all the black, and all the white horses) are the property of the legatee;
The piebald horses are black and white (i. e., each is black and white);
.:. The piebald horses are the property of the legatee.
Obviously these fallacies (Composition and Division) constitute merely a species of equivocation, i. e., of either Homonymy or Amphiboly.
'The last example is suggested by the celebrated Moot case of the legacy of “all the testator's black and white horses." The question was, whether the legatee was to have the black and the white horses, or the piebald horses, i. e., the horses that were each black and white. The legatee claimed that he was entitled to both classes ; and, hence, in the one or the other of his claims, was guilty of this fallacy.
the obligation of contracts." The argument in effect was that a grant is a contract, and that this was impaired by the act; which was in effect to substitute “ Contract” for “ Obliga
“ tion of Contract.". The fallacy is the more glaring from the fact that a grant is an executed contract, which carries with it no obligation. Hence the constitutional provision must be held to refer only to executory or obligatory contracts.
$ 191. The ambiguity of terms and sentences (Homonymia et Amphibolia) is undoubtedly the most prolific of all sources of fallacy. This is recognized by all logicians, and, indeed, by philosophers generally; but we doubt that many appreciate the extent of the evil or the universality of the danger to which men are exposed by reason of it, or (especially) their own infirmity in this respect.
“ Instances of this fallacy,” says Mr. Mill, “are to be found in most all the argumentary discourses of unprecise thinkers ”; a proposition true in its literal statement but false in its obvious implications; for it implies that the proposition is not true of precise thinkers, and also (though with becoming modesty) that it is not true of the author. But in fact the most precise, or, as we would prefer to say, the most logical thinkers are liable to fallacy, and especially to this kind of fallacy; and none more so than Mr. Mill.' In this respect, if fallacies be regarded as intellectual sins, we may say: “ There are none righteous. No, not one.” For it is with logicians as with generals: the best that can be said of them is, that the greatest are those who commit the fewest blunders. Hence the only difference, other than degree, between the more precise or logical thinker and the unprecise is, that the fallacies of the latter are difficult, those of the former easy to expose.
Hence it may be said that, while it is the greatest achievement to be right, it is no mean achievement to be clearly and unequivocally wrong, i. e., perspicuous in our errors. Hence the value of the political theories of Hobbes and Austin, the most logical of modern writers; which, though false, and even pernicious, are yet full of instruction.
Nor is the proportion of men of great logical genius so large as is generally supposed. They are in fact as scarce as great generals, or great statesmen, or great poets. Nor is it to be assumed that philosophical writers are less liable to this and other fallacies than the less pretentious classes. “ For it is most true, as Cicero saith of them somewhere, that there can be nothing so absurd but may be found in the books of the Philosophers” (Hobbes, Lev.,chap. 1
This is very fully shown by Mr. Jevons (Pure Logic and Minor Works, p. 201).
v.). So, as observed by the author cited, the educated classes generally are inferior to the vulgar in this respect. For “ those men that take their instruction from the authority of books, and not from their own meditations, [are) as much below the condition of ignorant men as men endued with true science are above it. For between true science and erroneous doctrines, ignorance is in the middle" (Id., chap. iv.). Hence no one should imagine himself free from this general infirmity of mankind; and he who most thoroughly realizes his weakness in this respect may, like Socrates, be justly pronounced the wisest of mankind. All are liable to it; and he who supposes he is not is simply unaware of his infirmity.
The nature of the Fallacy of Equivocation is obvious, and has been sufficiently explained. It remains, therefore, only to illustrate it by appropriate examples, and for this purpose the examples already given under other heads will -with one or two others—be sufficient to serve our purposes.
$ 192, EQUIVOCAL USE OF NONSENSICAL TERMS.-Some of the most important cases of this fallacy occur from the use of nonsen terms. The very nature of these is that they