Loki's wager

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Loki's wager is the unreasonable insistence a concept cannot be discussed because it cannot be clearly defined. It is a logical fallacy and technically an extreme use of equivocation. It can be avoided by using reasonable, clear and shared definitions of concepts.

The name originates from the myth that Loki made a wager with some dwarves, and bet his head. Loki lost the wager, and when the dwarves came to retrieve his head, Loki asserted that they could take it, but they were not entitled to any part of his neck. There are some parts which both parties agree are head, and both parties agree are neck, but neither could agree where exactly one ended and the other began. As a result, Loki kept his head.

Religion and God are words that are often re-defined based on metaphysical terms, that may only discussed on the believer's terms, to avoid criticism.

Example

An example would be to insist religion cannot be criticised because:

  • as a group, it is not responsible because made up of a diversity of believers, and
  • religion in individuals is not responsible because they do not represent the entire religious group.

It is also employed in the expression God moves in mysterious ways and God can't be defined.


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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