Nominal fallacy

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The nominal fallacy, also known as the naming-explaining fallacy, is a logical fallacy in which it is incorrectly assumed that giving something a name is tantamount to explaining it.[1] Stuart Firestein has described the fallacy as "...the error of believing that the label carries explanatory information."[2] One example of the nominal fallacy is the use of the word "instinct" to explain a given behavior.[2] An assertion, statement or assumption that an entity X exhibits a certain property due to its name would exemplify the nominal fallacy.


  1. ^ Remedios, Richard (2018). "Nominal Fallacy". Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 1–2. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_357-1. ISBN 978-3-319-47829-6.
  2. ^ a b Firestein, Stuart (2011). "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?". Retrieved 2020-01-03.