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.
The lack of criticism may be a simple overlook (e.g., a reference to common sense) or an application of double standard. Look up Common sense in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For the American independence advocacy pamphlet by Thomas Paine, see Common Sense (pamphlet) For the American hip-hop artist, see Common One meaning of the term common sense (or as an adjective, commonsense) on a strict construction of the term, is...
The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...
A more difficult case is when a possible criticism is made relatively immune to investigation. This immunity may take the forms of:
- reference to vocabulary that is owned by a distinct community with sole rights to assess meaning and application
- unexplained claims of exemption from principles commonly thought relevant to the subject matter
- Example: I'm not relying on faith in small probabilities here. These are slot machines, not roulette wheels. They are different.
- claims to data that are inherently unverifiable, perhaps because too remote or impossible to define clearly
- Example: Cocaine use should be legal. It does have some adverse health effects, but many have benefited from its effects.
- assertion that the opponent lacks the qualifications necessary to comprehend a point of view
- Example: I know you think that I should be giving my money to the poor, but you've never been rich before. There are things about wealth that you don't understand.
- assertion that literally nobody has the qualifications necessary to comprehend a point of view
- Example: I know the idea that ball lightning is caused by ghosts makes no sense to you, but that's only because you're human. Humans cannot understand supernatural phenomena.
In the classic distinction among material, psychological, and logical fallacies, special pleading most likely falls within the category of psychological fallacy, as it would seem to relate to "lip service", rationalization, and diversion (abandonment of discussion). This article is about the drug Cocaine. ...
Ball Lightning Ball lightning is a natural phenomenon, or debatably, a pseudoscientific theory. ...
The term Fallacy denotes any mistaken statement used in an argument. ...
The Historical fallacy, also called the psychological fallacy, is a logical fallacy originally noticed by philosopher John Dewey. ...
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. ...
In philosophy it is assumed that where a distinction is claimed a relevant basis for the distinction should exist and be substantiated. Special pleading is a subversion of this assumption.
- Sure, my client may have stolen, but he is poor, therefore it is excusable.
- You may disagree with my tax plan, but I've taken many more economics classes than you so you should give me the benefit of the doubt.
- ↑ This division is found in introductory texts such as Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument, W. Ward Fearnside, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1959.
- Web sites offering definitions of "special pleading": , , 
- The One-Sidedness Fallacy by Peter Suber.