The fallacy of composition is an informal fallacy that arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. A trivial example might be: "This tire is made of rubber; therefore, the vehicle of which it is a part is also made of rubber." This is fallacious, because vehicles are made with a variety of parts, most of which are not made of rubber. The fallacy of composition can apply even when a fact is true of every proper part of a greater entity, though. A more complicated example might be: "No atoms are alive. Therefore, nothing made of atoms is alive." This statement is incorrect, due to emergence, where the whole possesses properties not present in any of the parts.

This fallacy is related to the fallacy of hasty generalization, in which an unwarranted inference is made from a statement about a sample to a statement about the population from which it is drawn. The fallacy of composition is the converse of the fallacy of division.


In economics

Modo hoc fallacy

The modo hoc (or "just this") fallacy is the informal error of assessing meaning to an existent based on the constituent properties of its material makeup while omitting the matter's arrangement.[5] For instance, metaphysical naturalism states that while matter and motion are all that compose humans, it cannot be assumed that the characteristics inherent in the elements and physical reactions that make us up ultimately and solely define our meaning; for, a cow which is alive and well and a cow which has been chopped up into meat are the same matter but it is obvious that the arrangement of that matter clarifies those different situational meanings.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Transcript of the 1948 Russell-Copleston debate".
  2. ^ Maurice A.Finocchiaro. Journal of Applied Logic Volume 13, Issue 2, Part B, June 2015, Pages 24-43, The fallacy of composition: Guiding concepts, historical cases, and research problems.
  3. ^ Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 978-0316036146.
  4. ^ a b Pigliucci, Massimo (2012). "Chapter 15: On Justice". Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465021383.
  5. ^ a b Carrier, Richard (2005). Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. Prometheus Books. p. 130. ISBN 1-4208-0293-3.