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They’re Logically Fallacious! Special Pleading

Riley Sproul Ideas, Logical Fallacies 2 Comments

Let’s wrap up May with; Special Pleading:

Special Pleading:

(a.k.a. special circumstance)

An informal fallacy; Special Pleading involves the party making the argument requesting or demanding that they are a unique exception to an otherwise (or often) exception-less rule. Or that in a particular case, their point cannot be proven, due to “special circumstances”. This differs from a genuine technical issue in that genuine issues are eventually resolved, whereas those committing Special Pleading will perpetuate the cycle indefinitely.

Example: 1) X is true for everyone 2) X is inconvenient for me 3) Therefore, X is not true in my case.

Real World Example:

“Yes, I do think that all drunk drivers should go to prison, but your honor, he is my son! He is a good boy who just made a mistake!” (Source)

Indicator: A personal ‘buzz phrase’ of sorts that I listen for is “Yes/sure, but…”. It’s obviously not a sure-fire method, but it should perk up your ears to their explanation as to what the “but” is. And then watch to see if that ‘buzz phrase’ (or similar language) is repeatedly used to dodge an admission of failure or defeat.


Next week: False Dichotomy

Last week: Wishful Thinking

Look how far we’ve come!

Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
They’re Logically Fallacious! Special Pleading was last modified: May 27th, 2015 by Riley Sproul