Fallacy of composition

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The Fallacy of composition is the fallacy of concluding that something that is true of the parts is also true of the whole, or that something that is true of the whole is also true of the parts.

Examples

  • Every atom in my body is invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, I am invisible to the naked eye.
  • Each citizen in society has a mother. Therefore society has a mother.
  • In the Book of Acts, Luke's description of cities, countries and various customs is historically accurate. Therefore, everything in the Book of Acts is historically accurate.
  • In 2011, presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that "corporations are people", and defended this argument by saying that corporations are composed of people.

Counter-arguments

A few obviously fallacious arguments should suffice to show that composition is not a valid inference.

  • Everything in the universe is moved. Therefore, the universe is moved.
  • Everything in the universe is caused. Therefore, the universe is caused.


v · d Logical fallacies
v · d Formal fallacies
Propositional logic   Affirming a disjunct · Affirming the consequent · Argument from fallacy · False dilemma · Denying the antecedent
Quantificational logic   Existential fallacy · Illicit conversion · Proof by example · Quantifier shift
Syllogistic   Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise · Exclusive premises · Necessity · Four-term Fallacy · Illicit major · Illicit minor · Undistributed middle
v · d Faulty generalisations
General   Begging the question · Gambler's fallacy · Slippery slope · Equivocation · argumentum verbosium
Distribution fallacies   Fallacy of composition · Fallacy of division
Data mining   Cherry picking · Accident fallacy · Spotlight fallacy · Hasty generalization · Special pleading
Causation fallacies   Post hoc ergo propter hoc · Retrospective determinism · Suppressed correlative · Wrong direction
Ontological fallacies   Fallacy of reification · Pathetic fallacy · Loki's Wager
v · d False relevance
Appeals   Appeal to authority · Appeal to consequences · Appeal to emotion · Appeal to motive · Appeal to novelty · Appeal to tradition · Appeal to pity · Appeal to popularity · Appeal to poverty · Appeal to spite · Appeal to wealth · Sentimental fallacy · Argumentum ad baculum
Ad hominem   Ad hominem abusive · Reductio ad Hitlerum · Judgmental language · Straw man · Tu quoque
Genetic Fallacies   Genetic fallacy · Chronological snobbery · Association fallacy · Appeal to tradition · Texas sharpshooter fallacy
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