Animistic fallacy


Animistic fallacy

The animistic fallacy is the logical fallacy of arguing that an event or situation is evidence that someone consciously acted to cause it. The name of the fallacy comes from the animistic belief that changes in the natural world are the work of conscious spirits.

Examples

When Xerxes was crossing the Hellespont in the midst of the first Greco-Persian War, he built two bridges that were quickly destroyed. He personally blamed the river for attempting to spite him thinking that it was acting against him. In response he threw chains into the river, gave it three hundred lashes and "branded it with red-hot irons". [Green, Peter "The Greco-Persian Wars" (London 1996) 75.]
* "The trees are swaying, someone must be moving them."
* "There have been several riots this year. Our enemies must be stirring up discontent among the population."
* "The president cut funding to schooling. It must be because he wants an uneducated population that won't challenge him."
* "The lower classes continue to struggle with poverty because the elite have been working to keep them out of power." (see: Class struggle in Marxism)

References

ee also

* Pathetic fallacy


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