Not all

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of the series on
Logic and rhetoric
Icon logic.svg
Key articles
General logic
Bad logic
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Not all could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

Not all (also known as Not all X) is a turn of phrase that attempts to force unnecessary "nuance" into a subject that already has nuance, either by:

  1. Deflecting fully specific criticism by pretending it's actually quite unspecific (see first form), or
  2. Insisting that you need not be specific yourself when dishing out criticism to others (see second form)

The Not all fallacy is employed in the hopes of shutting down conversation by making the opponent appear to lack all nuance.

For example, "Not All Men" is typically used to attack women who speak out about injustices against them by men as a group.

This particular version gained most prominence after the 2014 Isla Vista killings, where it was argued that Rogers' murder spree wasn't actually an argument against organized misogyny, because not all misogynists!

The inverse to this phrase is instead trying to pass something unspecific off as being perfectly specific, an example being "YesAllWomen".

The first form[edit]


The first variant of the fallacy is when someone tries to deflect a specific example with a general blanket statement:

Problem Solver: Wow, did you know that in 2011, 23% of all auto collisions involved cell phones? We should do something about that.
#NotAllDrivers: Not all people text and drive. I've never done that. You shouldn't be prejudiced against drivers just because some of them do crappy shit.
Problem Solver: I posted up a video to support anti-bullying efforts… I got really bullied by the football players at my school.
#NotAllFootballPlayers: I used to play football, and I never bullied anyone. Don't judge all jocks by just your experience!

The second form[edit]


The second variant of the fallacy instead denotes when someone tries to demand that a blatant overgeneralisation not be questioned:

Person A: All men are all jerks!

Person B: You shouldn't be saying that about all men.

Person A: Oh god, not another 'not all men' argument, I'm sick of hearing these when I'm trying to fight sexism!