False Opposite

(aka False Antithesis/Dichotomy)

A fallacy of definition: a word is defined by not being its opposite.

Example: “integration” must be a good thing because it is the opposite of “disintegration” (a bad thing). But integration could also be taken to be the opposite of concepts like independence or freedom, which are good things, in which case such reasoning from opposites would make “integration” bad. The opposite of “consistency” is “inconsistency” (a bad thing); but it could also be “diversity”.

This fallacy is trivial but it is popular, and it is often present as the self-evident truth at the starting point of the large-scale policy which imposes misjudgment in detail and at leisure.


Related entries:

False Sameness.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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