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Argument From Incredulity

September 24th, 2009

Argument From Incredulity

classification : informal – fallacies of defective induction

Literally “that’s unbelievable = that’s obviously not real”. Where a participant draws a positive conclusion from an inability to imagine or believe the converse.

Foundations

This argument is a logical fallacy that essentially relies on a lack of imagination in the audience.

the argument is used in combination with some evidence in an attempt to sway opinion towards a preferred conclusion. It is a logical fallacy to the degree that the personal incredulity is offered as further evidence. In such an instance, the person making the argument has inserted a personal bias in an attempt to strengthen the argument for acceptance of her or his preferred conclusion.

Examples

I can’t imagine how bread rises without fairies; therefore, I believe in faeries.

I can’t believe the medium figured all that stuff out about me without spiritual aid; she must be in touch with the paranormal.

Other Names

Argument from personal belief
Argument from personal conviction
Argument from ignorance
god of the gaps

Notes: The argumentum ad ignorantiam [fallacy] is committed whenever it is argued that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proven false, or that it is false because it has not been proven true.
– Irving M. Copi, Introduction To Logic

Categories: Logic
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