Distinction without a difference

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A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things where no discernible difference exists.[1] It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid.

Logical form[2][edit]

  • Claim X is made where the truth of the claim requires a distinct difference between A and B.
  • There is no distinct difference between A and B.
  • Therefore, claim X is true.

Examples[edit]

  • "I did not lie; I merely stretched the truth a little bit."[3]
  • From the film This Is Spinal Tap:[4]
    • Marty: "The last time Tap toured America, they were, uh, booked into 10,000-seat arenas, and 15,000-seat venues, and it seems that now, on their current tour they're being booked into 1,200-seat arenas, 1,500-seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean uh...the popularity of the group is waning?"
    • Ian: "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no...no, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the... uh... their appeal is becoming more selective."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martinich, A. P. (1996). Philosophical Writing: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 9781405143929.
  2. ^ "Distinction Without a Difference". logicallyfallacious.com.
  3. ^ Royal, Brandon (2013). The Little Blue Reasoning Book: 50 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Thinking. Maven Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 978-1897393604.
  4. ^ "This Is Spinal Tap quotes". Movie Quote DB.