Argumentum ad Complexitem

I sometimes wish I could add another entry to the standard list of logical fallacies you find in textbooks on logic. If I could, I would call it something like “the argument from complexity.” That is, I often find when people are arguing a point and they would like to avoid a particular conclusion which seems to result from their argument, they invoke the putative complexity of the problem at hand. Or else they simply refer to the existence of other “perspectives” on a question to avoid dealing with the one they dislike but which is likely true. I think of it as the opposite of the “false dilemma” fallacy: whereas the one posits a false dichotomy between two options only by eliminating other options, the other treats all view points as equal, or treats a question as a matter of degree, when in fact there are only one or two possible answers to the question.  (After all, some questions in life are if fact either/or, pass/fail type questions.)  In other words, whereas the either/or fallacy relates to an oversimplification, the argument from complexity relates to making things overly complicated, either by accident–or as I suspect–by design. Think of it as the argumentative version of someone responding to your question with the phrase, “it’s complicated,” and you’ll catch my drift. Alas, I don’t think it will be on the books anytime soon. Pity.  One can dream, I guess.




Alypius Minor

~ by Alypius on April 27, 2014.

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