Description: Judging two situations by different standards when, in fact, you should be using the same standard. This is used in argumentation to unfairly support or reject an argument.
Person 1 makes claim X and gives reason Y.
Person 2 makes claim Z and gives reason Y.
Person 1 unfairly rejects reason Y, but only for claim Z and not claim X.
Husband: I forbid you to go to that male strip club! That is a completely inappropriate thing for a wife to do!
Wife: What about when you went to the female strip club last year?
Husband: That was just for fun, and besides, that's different.
Explanation: The husband is holding his wife to a different standard without articulating the standard. Most people would also agree that the standard is unfair.
Catholic: I know St. Peter answers prayers because when I pray to him, my prayers are sometimes answered. When they are not, it is because St. Peter knows what is best for me.
Protestant: Do you realize how foolish that sounds? You can say the same thing about praying to a mailbox.
Catholic: How do you know God answers prayers?
Protestant: Well... I... that's different.
Explanation: It often occurs within religion where the standards applied to one religion or denomination to claim "truth" don't apply to arguments from other religions or denominations. In this example, the Protestant is demanding stronger "evidence" for the Catholic's claim than she would demand for herself explaining how God answers prayers.
Exception: The fallacy is in the fact that the standards should be the same, but sometimes there are legitimate different standards. For example, a president's remarks are held to a different standard than a comedian's remarks.
Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.
Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:
Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!
Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.
Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.