Denying the correlative


Denying the correlative

The logical fallacy of denying the correlative is an attempt made at introducing alternatives where there are none. In a way, it is the opposite of the false dilemma, which is denying other alternatives.

For example:

Policeman: ".. either you stole the money or you didn't, which is it?". Suspect: "... you are assuming that the money really exists....". In the context of the question this is not a valid alternative[1]: regardless of the existence of the money, the suspect either stole it or didn't.

In determining whether this fallacy is committed, a close look at the context is required. The essence of denying the correlative is introducing a false alternative into a context that logically admits none, but this itself could be taken as a statement (outside of logic) that the context is invalid. For example:

Either all apples are green, or some apples are not green. But what about apples that are both green and red?

The first statement is logically true, but this does not exclude the possibility of questioning whether the presented dichotomy is appropriate in the given context, e.g., some kind of fuzzy logic is more applicable to the issue, or some definitions may be questioned and must be clarified, or one of the alternatives must be further subdivided for fair context.

Notes

^1. Note that the validity of this alternative within this dilemma does not in any way imply that money can both exist and not exist. That is to say, the existence of money is subject to the laws of non-contradiction and the excluded middle.

See also

  • Correlative based fallacies

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