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Package-Deal Fallacy

(also known as: false conjunction)

Description: Assuming things that are often grouped together must always be grouped together, or the assumption that the ungrouping will have significantly more severe effects than anticipated.

Logical Form:

X and Y usually go together.

Therefore, X or Y cannot be separated.

Example #1:

Michael is part of the Jackson Five.  Without Tito and company, he will never make it.

Explanation: Michael Jackson was sure great in the Jackson Five, but as history proves, he was legendary on his own.  Assuming he would not make it on his own is a judgment call not founded on evidence or reason.

Example #2:

If indoor smoking laws are passed for bars, the bars will go out of business since people who drink, smoke while they drink.

Explanation: This was a common argument against the banning of indoor smoking for bars and other drinking establishments.  The fear of separating smoking and drinking arose from the fear of going out of business, not from statistical data or any other evidence that would normally be deemed reasonable.  Many years later, it appears that the smoking ban had no significant impact on these kinds of establishments.[1]

Exception: An exception can be made for personal tastes.

I can’t even imagine eating just a peanut-butter sandwich without jelly (or Fluff).

Tip: Never underestimate the human ability to adapt and prosper.

References:

This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.

[1] Mark Engelen, Matthew Farrelly & Andrew Hyland: The Health and Economic Impact of New York's Clean Indoor Air Act. July 2006, p. 21



Registered User Comments

Jacob
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 03:20:20 PM
Say you are arguing with someone who believes in String Theory and you agree with every part except X. Say X is not even a very important part. The string-theory-believer says you must believe X. If you don't believe in X then you might as well reject all of String Theory. If you fall for the String-Theory-Believer's bad logic then you must then reject all of String theory, just because you disagree with one part.

Is this the package deal fallacy?

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 03:51:54 PM
This is tricky because if X is a vital part of String Theory, then they could have a point, but just stated their claim poorly. An similar example might be if you claim to be a Christian, but you don't believe that Jesus ever existed... but you are all for the 'love thy neighbor' and believe every other part of the Bible. It is not unreasonable or fallacious for someone to then claim that you are not a Christian if you reject this one part (Jesus), but it would be fallacious if they claimed that you had to reject EVERY part, i.e., you could not claim to love your neighbor. So yes, the way it is stated seems clearly fallacious, but we often need to look beyond potential language blunders and see if that is what the person really means.

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Jacob
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 10:17:47 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Thank you for the answer.

What if someone said it did not matter if X was trivial or foundational? What if a member of religion Y says that to be a follower of Y you must believe everything said by every self proclaimed member of Y and if you don't then you are not a a true follower of Y. Is this the packaged deal fallacy, or at least more like packaged deal than like any other fallacy?

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Friday, February 16, 2018 - 07:55:45 AM
@Jacob: That sounds more like the No True Scotsman fallacy.

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