Kostas Oikonomou

Innocent by association (kind of)

Recently I was watching a player in the television program Survivor arguing that women in the past (centuries ago) have been mistreated, treated unfair and even burned as witches, and concluding that women is the force of life and so a female member of the team who was a candidate for leaving, should be protected by the team because she was a woman even though she was the weakest player. This is definitely irrational, but I wanted to ask whether there is a more specific name for this fallacy. It definitely used emotion to associate a person with people in the past who were mistreated and create sympathy and a feeling that you owe it to the previous victims to treat her favorably or that you also mistreat someone who share a trait with other people that were mistreated. It's like the opposite of Guilt by Association but with way more irrationality.  Is there a more specific name for this fallacy?

asked on Monday, Jan 11, 2021 12:03:45 PM by Kostas Oikonomou

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Bo Bennett, PhD

I do agree that appeal to pity works, but so does the "innocent by association," which we can say is just the opposite of the ad hominem (guilt by association).

When the source is viewed negatively because of its association with another person or group who is already viewed negatively. Same fallacy, just opposite. The participant is not accused of being guilty of anything, but she is accused of being innocent of not worthy of leaving the island.

answered on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 08:06:55 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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It is a fairly straightforward example of an appeal to pity. 

Innocent by association does not really fit because she is not actually guilty of anything.  It is just the rules of a tv-show requires someone be voted off.

answered on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 07:08:36 AM by GoblinCookie

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It's a show, not reality.  History shows that women are the only source of future people.  No one on an island in the show are at risk of not perpetuating the species.

Indeed, the contrast is stark enough imo to raise the issue of the import of fallacious reasoning as sufficient to defeat an argument - even one implied.

answered on Thursday, Jan 14, 2021 09:59:40 PM by DrBill

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