type of logical fallacy

JediMaster

Senior Member
USA
English, United States
There's a quote by Ellis Peters basically saying that "truth...simplifies all problems." I'm writing an essay agreeing with the first part of the quote (which I didn't post) but also saying that the second part of the quote commits a ________ fallacy. However, I'm not sure which type of logical fallacy it commits.

The fallacy I'm thinking of is the one where one takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea- but that one idea is too narrow to describe the whole. I was thinking "oversimplification fallacy," but I'm not sure what the actual name of it is.
 
  • JediMaster

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, United States
    Thanks for your reply!
    However, I already did a search on that site (and other fallacy sites) and did not quite find the fallacy I was looking for.
     

    DAH

    Senior Member
    USA/California--English
    JediMaster said:
    There's a quote by Ellis Peters basically saying that "truth...simplifies all problems." I'm writing an essay agreeing with the first part of the quote (which I didn't post) but also saying that the second part of the quote commits a ________ fallacy. However, I'm not sure which type of logical fallacy it commits.

    The fallacy I'm thinking of is the one where one takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea- but that one idea is too narrow to describe the whole. I was thinking "oversimplification fallacy," but I'm not sure what the actual name of it is.
    One takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea = speaks to Reductivism.

    Where one idea is too narrow to describe the whole = speaks to Gestalt theory.
     

    I.C.

    Senior Member
    D
    You didn’t post the first part of the proposition, are you sure there is a logical fallacy? To have the proper key simplifies decoding.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "Truth is a hard master, and costly to serve, but it simplifies
    all problems." - Ellis Peters.


    That doesn't help me to understand or answer the question, but it may help others:)
     

    I.C.

    Senior Member
    D
    I don't see an inevitable logical fallacy in the sentence as such. My first reaction would be to ask for a defintion of "the truth".

    Either way I'd prefer Richard Feynman: ”The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”
     

    DAH

    Senior Member
    USA/California--English
    Agnès E. said:
    Isn't Gestalt exactly the opposite? :confused:
    Gestalt is about parts and their relationship to a whole entity. But, here JEDIMaster has the inverse of the same principle.

    "Where one idea is too narrow to describe the whole."

    Gestalt: an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts. (AskOxford.com)
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    JediMaster said:
    There's a quote by Ellis Peters basically saying that "truth...simplifies all problems." I'm writing an essay agreeing with the first part of the quote (which I didn't post) but also saying that the second part of the quote commits a ________ fallacy. However, I'm not sure which type of logical fallacy it commits.

    The fallacy I'm thinking of is the one where one takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea- but that one idea is too narrow to describe the whole. I was thinking "oversimplification fallacy," but I'm not sure what the actual name of it is.
    I don't know if there really is a logical fallacy. The closest thing I can think of is a false dilemma because if "truth simplifies all problems," then the alternative is that without truth problems can't be simplified. But that is not stated as the alternative, and there are room for other alternatives, so false dilemma doesn't even work. We would need more information in order to decipher if there is a logical fallacy here. As it is, it is just an opinion.
     

    JediMaster

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, United States
    Josh Adkins said:
    As it is, it is just an opinion.
    True, (no pun intended), but it can also be argued that the truth, in cases, can complicate problems, which was what I was going to argue...

    Quote from DAH: "One takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea = speaks to Reductivism"

    That's what I had in mind!
    Would it be correct to say, "Here, I believe Ellis Peters' comment, while true in some cases, is reductionistic in others."?

    Also, thanks to all who replied!
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    JediMaster said:
    Would it be correct to say, "Here, I believe Ellis Peters' comment, while true in some cases, is reductionistic in others."?
    I would say:

    Ellis Peters' comment smacks of reductivism. While it may be true in some cases, it most certainly fails to be true in all cases. Consider the following example....


    This is not to say I agree with your premise. I suspect you may be falling prey to your own fallacy. ;)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    JediMaster said:
    [...] Would it be correct to say, "Here, I believe Ellis Peters' comment, while true in some cases, is reductionistic in others."?
    To my ears this sentence becomes confused and meaningless just after your declaration of belief in Ellis Peters' comment.

    You need to include that.
    "Here, I believe that Ellis Peters' comment, while true in some cases, is reductionistic in others."?

    I wonder why you start the sentence with "Here...", but as I don't know what you said before, I can only wonder:)

    Caution: My comments relate only to the English, not the logical validity of the sentence.
     

    MrPedantic

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    To take a specific kind of problem: a problem in chess, which Oxford defines as "An arrangement of pieces upon the chessboard, in which the player is challenged to discover the method of accomplishing a specified result".

    We can redefine the underlined portion as "the right steps to a solution".

    To "simplify" a chess problem is therefore to make "the right steps to a solution" more apparent.

    "Truth" in the statement is a personification: it is presented as an active principle, since it is the subject of the verb "simplifies". It therefore has a sense of "the perceiving of truth".

    Chessplayers tend to ask "what is the 'truth' of this position?". This means: "if each player played the best possible moves, what would the result be?"

    Putting all this together, we have:

    1. Truth simplifies all problems.
    2. Perceiving the truth simplifies all problems.
    3. Perceiving the truth makes the right steps to a solution more apparent.
    4. Perceiving the truth of the position makes the right steps to a solution more apparent.
    5. Perceiving the best possible moves makes the right steps to a solution more apparent.

    In other words:

    6. Perceiving the right steps to a solution makes the right steps to a solution more apparent.

    In fairness to Ellis Peters, he was probably being a little ironic.

    MrP
     

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    JediMaster said:
    The fallacy I'm thinking of is the one where one takes a broad topic and boils it down to one idea- but that one idea is too narrow to describe the whole. I was thinking "oversimplification fallacy," but I'm not sure what the actual name of it is.
    In Philiosophy, specifically in the discipline of Logic, there are 2 general types of reasoning based on how a conclusion is arrived at:

    1. Inductive reasoning - a generalization is derived from a particular fact to a general statement.

    Ex. George Bush has a sub-optimal IQ.
    George Bush was a governor of Texas.
    Ergo, all Texas governors have sub-optimal IQ.

    2. Deductive reasoning - an inference is made from a general statement to a particular fact.

    Ex. All vertebrates have a backbone.
    George Bush doesn't have a backbone.
    Ergo, George Bush is not a vertebrate.

    From these types of reasoning, fallacies can arise. The fallacy that you are probably looking for is one of deductive reasoning.
     
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