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Encyclopedia > Fallacy of quoting out of context

The practice of "quoting out of context", sometimes referred to as "contextomy," is a logical fallacy and type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. Quoting out of context is often a means to set up "straw man" arguments. Straw man arguments are arguments against a position which is not held by an opponent, but which may bear superficial similarity to the views of the opponent. [1] Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... // Contextomy Contextomy refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, a practice commonly (and erroneously) referred to as the fallacy of quoting out of context. ... // Contextomy Contextomy refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, a practice commonly (and erroneously) referred to as the fallacy of quoting out of context. ... It has been suggested that Logical fallacy be merged into this article or section. ... The fallacy of a false attribution occurs when an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument. ... A straw man, or straw person, argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponents position. ... A straw man, or straw person, argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponents position. ...


Examples

One common instance of the fallacy of quoting out of context is the creationist "quote" of Charles Darwin: "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree." This sentence, sometimes truncated to the phrase "absurd in the highest degree", is often presented as part of an assertion that Darwin himself perceived his own theory of evolution as absurd. In context, of course, Darwin went on to explain that the apparent absurdity of the eye's evolution (itself an instance of the argument from incredulity) is no bar to its actual reality. In fact, his very next sentence ends with the reminder that "[T]he old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science." Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist [1] who achieved lasting fame by producing considerable evidence that species originated through evolutionary change, at the same time proposing the scientific theory that natural selection is the mechanism by which such change occurs. ... The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or argument by lack of imagination, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or that a premise is false only because it has not... This page lists direct English translations of common Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. ...


References

McGlone, Matthew S. (2005). Contextomy: The art of quoting out of context. Media, Culture, & Society, 27, 511-522.

Informal fallacies
v  d  e
Special pleading | Red herring | Gambler's fallacy and its inverse
Fallacy of distribution (Composition | Division) | Begging the question | Many questions
Correlative-based fallacies:
False dilemma (Perfect solution) | Denying the correlative | Suppressed correlative
Deductive fallacies:
Accident | Converse accident
Inductive fallacies:
Hasty generalization | Overwhelming exception | Biased sample
False analogy | Misleading vividness | Conjunction fallacy
Vagueness:
False precision | Slippery slope
Ambiguity:
Amphibology | Continuum fallacy | False attribution (Contextomy | Quoting out of context)
Equivocation (Fallacy of four terms | Loki's Wager | No true Scotsman)
Questionable cause:
Correlation does not imply causation | Post hoc | Regression fallacy
Texas sharpshooter | Circular cause and consequence | Wrong direction | Single cause
Other types of fallacy

In Philosophical logic, an informal fallacy is a pattern of reasoning which is false due to the falsity of one or more of its premises. ... Special pleading is a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations themselves. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Red herring (disambiguation). ... The gamblers fallacy is a logical fallacy which encompasses any of the following misconceptions: A random event is more likely to occur because it has not happened for a period of time; A random event is less likely to occur because it has not happened for a period of... The inverse gamblers fallacy is a tempting mistake in judgments of probability, comparable to the gamblers fallacy whence its name derives. ... A fallacy of distribution is a logical 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. ... A fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some (or even every) part of the whole. ... A fallacy of division occurs when someone reasons logically that something that is true of a thing must also be true of its constituents. ... In logic, begging the question, also known as circular reasoning and by the Latin name petitio principii, is an informal fallacy found in many attempts at logical arguments. ... Many questions, also known as complex question, presupposition, loaded question, or plurium interrogationum (Latin, of many questions), is a logical fallacy. ... In logic, correlative-based fallacies, also known as fallacies of distraction, are logical fallacies based on correlative conjunctions. ... The logical fallacy of false dilemma (in some sources falsified dilemma), which is also known as fallacy of the excluded middle, false dichotomy, either/or dilemma or bifurcation, involves a situation in which two alternative points of view are held to be the only options, when in reality there exist... The perfect solution fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it was implemented. ... The logical fallacy of denying the correlative is the opposite of the false dilemma, where an attempt is made at introducing alternatives where there are none. ... The logical fallacy of suppressed correlative is a type of argument which tries to redefine a correlative (two mutually exclusive options) so that one alternative encompasses the other, i. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The logical fallacy of accident, also called destroying the exception or a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, is a deductive fallacy occurring in statistical syllogisms (an argument based on a generalization) when an exception to the generalization is ignored. ... The logical fallacy of converse accident (also called reverse accident, destroying the exception or a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter) is a deductive fallacy that can occur in a statistical syllogism when an exception to a generalization is wrongly called for. ... A faulty generalization, also known as an inductive fallacy, is any of several errors of inductive inference: Hasty generalization is the fallacy of examining just one or very few examples or studying a single case, and generalizing that to be representative of the whole class of objects or phenomena. ... Hasty generalization, also known as fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, leaping to a conclusion, hasty induction, law of small numbers, unrepresentative sample or secundum quid, is the logical fallacy of reaching an inductive generalization based on too little evidence. ... A biased sample is one that is falsely taken to be typical of a population from which it is drawn. ... False analogy is a logical fallacy applying to inductive arguments. ... The logical fallacy of misleading vividness involves describing some occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem. ... The conjunction fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that specific conditions are more probable than general ones. ... Ambiguity is one way in which the meanings of words and phrases can be unclear, but there is another way, which is different from ambiguity: vagueness. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In debate or rhetoric, the slippery slope is an argument for the likelihood of one event given another. ... Look up ambiguity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Amphibology or amphiboly (from the Greek ampibolia) is, in logic, a verbal fallacy arising from ambiguity in the grammatical structure of a sentence. ... Continuum fallacy, also called fallacy of the beard is a logical fallacy which abuses the paradox of the heap. ... The fallacy of a false attribution occurs when an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument. ... // Contextomy Contextomy refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, a practice commonly (and erroneously) referred to as the fallacy of quoting out of context. ... Equivocation is a logical fallacy. ... The fallacy of four terms (Latin: quaternio terminorum) is a logical fallacy that occurs when a three-part syllogism has four terms. ... Lokis Wager is a form of logical fallacy. ... No true Scotsman is a term coined by Antony Flew in his 1975 book It refers to an argument which takes this form: Argument: No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. ... Fallacies of questionable cause, also known as causal fallacies, non causa pro causa (non-cause for cause in Latin) or false cause, are informal fallacies where a cause is incorrectly identified. ... Correlation does not imply causation is a phrase used in statistics to indicate that correlation between two variables does not imply there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. ... Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for after this, therefore because of this, is a logical fallacy which assumes or asserts that if one event happens after another, then the first must be the cause of the second. ... The regression (or regressive) fallacy is a logical fallacy where regression towards the mean is seen not as a natural fluctuation but as being brought about by a specific cause. ... The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is a logical fallacy where a cluster of statistically non-significant data is taken from its context, and therefore thought to have a common cause. ... Circular cause and consequence is a logical fallacy where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause. ... Wrong direction is a logical fallacy of causation where cause and effect are reversed. ... The fallacy of the single cause, also known as joint effect or causal oversimplification, is a logical fallacy of causation that occurs when it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient...

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