Package-deal fallacy

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For the concept employed by Ayn Rand, see Fallacy of package-dealing.

The logical fallacy of the package deal (also known as false conjunction) consists of assuming that things often grouped together by tradition or culture must always be grouped that way.

It is particularly common in political arguments: "My opponent is a conservative who voted against higher taxes and welfare, therefore he will also oppose gun control and abortion." While those four positions are often grouped together as "conservative" in American politics, there is no reason that one cannot believe in one "conservative" idea while not believing in another.

The package deal fallacy refers to misuse of the and operator. For misuse of the or operator, see false dilemma.

Additional examples[edit]

  • "John likes surprises, so he'll enjoy finding a snake in his sleeping bag."
    • Assumes a surprise is inherently a good thing, does not consider actual context of event
  • "Droughts are common during summers in Country X, so water is hard to find there in August."
    • It hasn't rained in Country X for a while, but there may well be plenty of water reserves available. Also, seasons are different between the two hemispheres; if Country X is in the southern hemisphere August will be in winter. Lastly, just because droughts are common in summers in country X does not mean they must occur every summer. That August may have been one of the summers a drought did not occur.
  • "A child molester was caught in a nearby neighborhood. He was friends with many of his neighbors. Everyone in that whole neighborhood is sick."
    • Assumes that the neighbors knew that their friend was a sex offender and also implies their endorsement of such activity. Assumes guilt by association under incidental circumstances.

When it is not a fallacy[edit]

The package-deal argument need not be a fallacy when used to argue that things grouped by culture and tradition are likely to be grouped in a given way.

Examples[edit]

  • "John enjoys science fiction films, so chances are he'll enjoy Star Wars."
    • While it is not guaranteed that John will like Star Wars, we can tell from information about him that he probably will.
  • "There has been a serious drought in Country X for a while, and it is not very developed, so many of its inhabitants are probably starving."
    • Most developing countries do face famine when drought occurs, so it is likely that this is the case in Country X, even if it is not guaranteed.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Bennett, Bo, "Package-deal fallacy", Logically fallacious, retrieved October 2014 
  • Sternberg, Meir (2011), "Reconceptualizing Narratology. Arguments for a Functionalist and Constructivist Approach to Narrative", Enthymema 4: 35–50, doi:10.13130/2037-2426/1186, ISSN 2037-2426, I think there is a basic psychological reason, namely, the human tendency to the opposite of the Proteus Principle, what I call the package-deal fallacy. It is simply convenient to say «X goes with Y», «form A goes with function A1», «form B goes with effect B1». The world then looks orderly, safe. 
  • Sternberg, Meir (1998), Hebrews between Cultures: Group Portraits and National Literature, Indiana University Press, p. 158, ISBN 0-253-11328-8, [...] a tendency to overconnection among essentially independent variables [...] [w]hat I call the Package Deal Fallacy [...]