A fallacy of illicit transference is an informal fallacy occurring when an argument assumes there is no difference between a term in the distributive (referring to every member of a class) and collective (referring to the class itself as a whole) sense.
There are two variations of this fallacy:
- Fallacy of composition – assumes what is true of the parts is true of the whole. This fallacy is also known as "arguing from the specific to the general."
- Since Judy is so diligent in the workplace, this entire company must have an amazing work ethic.
- Fallacy of division – assumes what is true of the whole is true of its parts (or some subset of parts).
- Because this company is so corrupt, so must every employee within it be corrupt.
While fallacious, arguments that make these assumptions may be persuasive because of the representativeness heuristic.