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Encyclopedia > Perfect solution fallacy

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. In dialectic, the term logical fallacy properly refers to a formal fallacy: a flaw in the structure of a deductive argument which renders the argument invalid. ...


Presumably, assuming no solution is perfect then no solution would last very long politically once it had been implemented. Still, many people (notably utopians) seem to find the idea of a perfect solution compelling, perhaps because it is easy to imagine. Utopian, in its most common and general positive meaning, refers to the human efforts to create a better, or perhaps perfect society. ...


Examples:

These anti-drunk driving ad campaigns are not going to work. People are still going to drink and drive no matter what.
Rebuttal It may not eliminate 100% of drunk driving, but is the amount by which it would reduce the total amount of drunk driving enough to make the policy worthwhile?
Seat belts are a bad idea. People are still going to die in car wrecks.
Rebuttal It may not save 100% of people involved in car wrecks, but isn't the number of lives that would be saved enough to make seat belts worthwhile?

It is common for arguments that commit this fallacy to omit any specifics about how much the solution is claimed to not work, but express it only in vague terms. Alternatively, it may be combined with the fallacy of misleading vividness, when a specific example of a solution's failing is described in eye-catching detail and base rates are ignored (see availability heuristic). 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 availability heuristic is a rule of thumb, or heuristic, which occurs when people estimate the probability of an outcome based on how easy that outcome is to imagine. ...


The fallacy is a kind of false dilemma. The logical fallacy of false 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 one or more alternate options...


References

  • Browne, M. N. & Keeley, S. M. (2004). Asking the Right Questions. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

External links

  • Unobtainable perfection

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2396 words)
Fallacy of Accident (also called destroying the exception or a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid) meaning to argue erroneously from a general rule to a particular case, without proper regard to particular conditions which vitiate the application of the general rule; e.g.
Fallacy of Many Questions (Plurium Interrogationum), wherein several questions are improperly grouped in the form of one, and a direct categorical answer is demanded, e.g.
Fallacy of Composition is a species of Amphibology, which results from the confused use of collective terms.
Perfect solution fallacy - definition of Perfect solution fallacy in Encyclopedia (311 words)
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.
Presumably, assuming no solution is perfect then no solution would last very long politically once it had been implemented.
Alternatively, it may be combined with the fallacy of misleading vividness, when a specific example of a solution's failing is described in eye-catching detail and base rates are ignored (see availability heuristic).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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