Appeal to novelty
|Cogito ergo sum|
Logic and rhetoric
“”Leonard: I guess it couldn't kill us to meet some new people.
Sheldon: Actually, it could kill us. They could be murderers or the carriers of unusual pathogens.
|—The Big Bang Theory|
The appeal to novelty is the fallacious claim that an idea or product is good — simply by virtue of being novel or new.
- argumentum ad novitatem
- appeal to modernity/progress
- argument of the new
The general form of the argument is as follows.
- P1: X is novel.
- P2: (unstated) Something novel is always better.
- C: X is correct or better.
As a syllogism this is valid. The fallacy lies in the unstated minor premise. New ideas or new products that are untried or untested are not inevitably better. There are cases when new is better, for example many foodstuffs are better fresh but in many other cases age does not affect the value of a product.
- "Let's buy the latest version of the software. It must be better!"
- In the late 1990s when the Internet appeared to be the future of pretty much everything, many "dotcom" businesses found easy financial backing, simply because they were part of the "World Wide Web", regardless of their lack of a good business plan or experience.
- "A change in government will fix things!"
Western culture includes a strong memeplex implying that new things are superior to old things. Westerners believe in progress and have experienced scientific advances which lead to westerners getting many new products and benefiting from new processes which we value. Sometimes we hope desperately that further scientific advance will solve problems like global warming. Advertising encourages us to believe that new is better even when the main novelty is in packaging.
The reverse position of the appeal to novelty would be the appeal to tradition. This is also fallacious since as a rule age does not improve quality.
- Fallacy: Appeal to Novelty, Nizkor Project
- Appeal to Novelty, Changing Minds
- Appeal to Novelty, Logically Fallacious
- Appeal to Progress, Bruce Thompson
- Fallacy of Novelty, Agnosticism/Atheism About.com
- Bandwagon, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy