Reductio ad Hitlerum

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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoon illustrating the Reductio ad Hitlerum.

The Reductio ad Hitlerum is a specific form of the association fallacy that involves rejecting a proposition because Adolf Hitler believed it. For any proposition P, the argument takes the form:

  1. Hitler believed P was true.
  2. Hitler was a horrible man who waged bloody war upon Europe and killed millions in concentration camps.
  3. P is false.

When saying, "P is false" SOME people generally mean, P is bad, P is evil, P should be avoided at all costs.

Similar arguments occasionally arise centered around other infamous historical individuals, but Hitler is the most common. Frequently, the first premise is challenged when significant evidence to the contrary exists, but even if it is true, the conclusion does not follow the premises. Hitler likely believed that the Earth was round and that it revolved around the Sun, beliefs unrelated to his actions. Even if his actions were directly caused by his holding certain beliefs, it doesn't follow that the beliefs are false. This is the fallacy of the Argument from adverse consequences.

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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