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.

Examples[edit]

  • "I did not lie; I merely stretched the truth a little bit."[2]
  • From the film This Is Spinal Tap:[3]
    • 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."
  • In January 2017, Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to then-new U.S. President Donald Trump, defended a false claim made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer with the observation that he had provided "alternative facts" rather than lied.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martinich, A. P. (1996). Philosophical Writing: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 99. 
  2. ^ Royal, Brandon (2013). The Little Blue Reasoning Book: 50 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Thinking. Maven Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 1897393601. 
  3. ^ "This Is Spinal Tap quotes". Movie Quote DB.