Fallacy of accident
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“”No rule is so general, which admits not some exception.
|—Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy|
Fallacy of accident is a logical fallacy that occurs when a general rule (a rule of thumb or a "soft" generalization) is taken to be universal (an unconditionally true statement).
 Alternate names
- a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid
- sweeping generalization
- misuse of a principle
- ignoring qualifications
- P1: Bs are normally Cs.
- P2: A (an abnormal example) is a B.
- C1: A is C.
“”Water boils at a temperature of 212° Fahrenheit; therefore boiling water will be hot enough to cook an egg hard in five minutes: but if we argue thus at an altitude of 5,000 feet, we shall be disappointed; for the height, through the difference in the pressure of the air, qualifies the truth of our general principle.
|—H. W. B. Joseph|
- "Birds can [normally] fly" is a general rule, and doesn't imply that all birds (such as emus or penguins) can fly. To take this general rule and apply it to all birds would be committing a sweeping generalization.
- See the Wikipedia article on Secundum quid.
- The Fallacy of Accident, Fallacy Files
- Accident, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy