Fallacy of Division
Fallacy of division is whereby one comes to a conclusion from a true aspect of a thing on assumption that it similarly applies to all or some of its individuals or parts. It argues that if there is truth in something as a whole, it must also be so for all or some of its parts. The fallacy of division is conversely related to the fallacy of composition. An example can be as follows:
- A Boeing 747 can fly without any aid across the ocean
- A Boeing 747 has got jet engines
- Hence, one of the Boeing 747’s jet engines can fly unaided across the ocean.
There are two variations of the fallacy of division that you should take note of. One is that, the fallacy of division is committed when a person reasons that what is true of the whole must also be true of the parts. On the other hand, a fallacy of division can also be committed when the parson fails to give justification of that interference with the required degree of evidence. The reason can be expressed in the following format:
- The whole Y has properties A, B, C and so many more
- Therefore, the parts of Y have properties A, B, C among others.
Reasoning in such a way is fallacious and can even be further elaborated with an argument that; Given 4 is an even number, and 1 and 3 are part of it, it means that 1 and 3 are also even. It is not always fallacious to derive a conclusion from the parts of a whole based on the properties or characteristics of the whole.
The reasoning can be acceptable provided that adequate evidence is given. For instance, the human body is made from matter and it is reasonable to infer from this that, the parts that make up the human body are also made out of matter. This mainly because there is no reason to believe that the human body is made from non-material parts that when brought together, can form matter.
The other version of fallacy of division is committed in the event that a person draws a conclusion about the properties of individual members of a group or class based on the collective properties of the group or class. It can also be committed when there is insufficient justification for the conclusion. A more formal line of reason for this could be presented as follows:
- As a collective group or class Y has properties A, B, C among others
- Therefore, the individual members of group or class Y possess properties A, B, C and so many more.
To help one understand the fallacy of division better, there are several other examples that can be relied upon. Below are some of them:
- The ball is white, thus the atoms that make it up are also white.
- Terrorist attacks committed by Muslims are in the name of Islam, hence all Muslims are terrorists
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