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Logical Inconsistency

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Logical Inconsistency

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

Multiple statements are given which contradict one another.

These may be given together or may be separated in time. Sometimes the contradictions are rather subtle and are difficult to spot. At other times, they are obvious. If you have enough authority, then you may be able to carry this off.

Example

Sim is cleverer than Jim. Jim is cleverer than Tim. Tim is cleverer than Sim.

Let's all go to the football game tomorrow. My wife doesn't like football. I know you're busy. We'll all enjoy ourselves.

Discussion

Inconsistencies may be found in various circumstances. Often they are used in ignorance, where the person does not realize they are being inconsistent. Sometimes it is just lazy thinking. Sometimes they are used within an emotive context, where the person has lost all sense of logic and is desperately trying to prove something. Another possibility is a deliberate use of inconsistency to confuse the other person and hence distract them from the real game. Finally, sometimes people in authority deliberately contradict themselves because they know they will not be challenged and possibly as a demonstration of power.

Logical inconsistency is different from personal inconsistency. Logical inconsistency is about using arguments which are not internally consistent. Personal inconsistency is about accusing others of inconsistency.

Classification

Non-sequitur

Also known as

Inconsistency

See also

Appeal to Authority, Personal Inconsistency, Confusion principle

 

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