Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slothful Induction Fallacy

If ever there was a logical fallacy, which seemed to epitomize intellectual dishonesty, it is this one: slothful induction. The idea of slothful induction is that, despite overwhelming evidence, you ignore a conclusion or results from a sampling of information.Appeal to coincidence is another term that can be used to describe the slothful induction Fallacy.

An example of Slothful Induction is when Jack has had twelve accidents in the last six months, yet he insists that it is just a coincidence and not his fault.

Slothful induction fallacy has become a social norm in our society today. To avoid such hasty generalization, individuals should undergo a study of the rhetoric process in order to learn and practice how to communicate and persuade the target audience to change their mind towards certain beliefs. Rhetorically, for the sake of the audience in a discussion or public debate, it can be effective to rehearse and press the point. "So just to be clear, we have seen that for these reasons there is strong evidence that this is the most likely conclusion. You refuse to concede the point but haven't given us any good reason for not following this evidence where it leads." This approach reminds the audience of the evidence and draws attention to an opponent's boldness toward the truth of the matter.

The Slothful Induction Fallacy is the typical antithesis of the Hasty Generalization Fallacy. In short, this is when not enough evidence is given to make an inference but the inference is still made. This fallacy is used considerably more often. For more information of the Hasty Generalization Fallacy, check out this video:

One of the main reasons this is flawed in reasoning is that if something is true it is going to be true.  When looking at a situation with overwhelming evidence towards on outcome, that outcome is likely going to be true no matter how much arguing takes place.  The key is to reference the strength of the evidence one has against the fallacy and hope that the truth wins out.
So if you find yourself in a debate where the evidence you are presenting is being ignored, what is your recourse?  You have very little to be honest.  You are in a debate with an individual who does not value evidence and reason, therefore you will not be able to use evidence and reason to influence the argument.

May we be neither too hasty nor too slothful in inferring the implications of the evidence.


Barker, S. F. (2011). The Elements of Logic (6th ed.). McGraw-Hill. doi:ISBN 0-07-283235-5
Correia, V., & Festinger, L. (2014). Biased argumentation and critical thinking. (B. P. Lang, Ed.) Rhetoric and cognition. Theoretical perspectives and persuasive strategies. Retrieved february 25, 2017

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