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The fallacy of accident (also called destroying the exception or a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid) is an informal fallacy and a deductively valid but unsound argument occurring in a statistical syllogism (an argument based on a generalization) when an exception to a rule of thumb is ignored. It is one of the thirteen fallacies originally identified by Aristotle in Sophistical Refutations. The fallacy occurs when one attempts to apply a general rule to an irrelevant situation.
Cutting people with knives is a crime. →
Surgeons cut people with knives. →
Surgeons are criminals.
This fallacy may occur when limited generalizations ("some; sometimes and somewhere") are mixed with A-type categorical statements ("all; always and everywhere"), often when no quantifiers like "some" or "many" or qualifiers such as "rarely" are used to mark off what is or may be excepted in the generalization.
- "The Fallacy of Accident". The Fallacy Files.
- S. Morris Engel (1999). With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies. Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN 0312157584. Retrieved 2013-02-17.