This fallacy occurs when the qualities of the parts of a whole are assumed to also be the qualities of the whole. It is a fallacy because there is no justification for making this assumption. For example, someone might argue that because every individual part of a large machine is lightweight, the machine itself is lightweight. They assume that:

1. Since all of the parts of the machine (A) are lightweight (B),

2. Therefore, the machine as a whole (C) is lightweight (B).

This argument is fallacious because you cannot conclude that because the parts of a whole have (or lack) certain qualities, therefore the whole that they are parts of has those qualities. Let's look at another example. A girl's mother tells her, "You love meatloaf, applesauce, ice cream, and pickles. So, you will love what we're having for dinner tonight! I made a meatloaf, applesauce, ice cream, and pickle casserole." This is an example of the fallacy of composition because, while the girl loves all of those foods individually, one cannot reasonably conclude that she will love them when they are put together as a casserole (a whole made of the likeable parts is not necessarily likeable).

Sometimes an argument that states that the properties of the parts are also the properties of the whole is a strong one. In order to determine whether it is fallacious or not, you need to see if there is justification for the inference from parts to whole. For example, if every piece of a table is made of wood, there is no fallacy committed when one concludes that the whole table is also made of wood.


■ The human body is made up of atoms, which are invisible. Therefore, the human body is invisible.

■ Every player on their team is excellent. So their team must be excellent, too.

■ 50% of marriages end in divorce. My husband and I are 50% married.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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