Frozen Abstraction

When an argument implicitly assumes that a specific member (or subset of specific members) of a wider class is the wider class. Similar to Fallacy Of Composition in transferring one thing's properties to everything else in its class, and overlaps at times with False Dichotomy (which occurs when two members of a wider class are claimed to be the only members of the wider class and that a choice must be made between them). This fallacy is often caused by an unstated premise.

"An Egoist theory of ethics is a contradiction in terms".

This assumes that "ethics" is a synonym for "non-self-interested."

"Anarchism is not a political ideology because politics is about the role of the State; advocacy of a stateless society is not a political position."

This assumes that the role of the State must be an active one—ie, the State must exist. (This applies whether one is arguing that Anarchism is not a valid political position, or that Anarchism is somehow "above" politics.)

Looks like this fallacy, but is not:

  • This should not be mistaken for an equivocation, which it can resemble. An equivocation hinges upon using the same word with different definitions.

    "The judge has no interest in the case. A person who displays no interest in something probably won't pay attention. Therefore, the judge probably won't pay attention."

    • This is fallacious if in the first sentence, interest means "monetary stake or claim in the matter" and in the second means "the state of wanting to know about the matter."

  • Many atheists argue that, as they are opposed to the idea of religion, atheism cannot be considered a religion. The argument is that religion requires belief, and they have none. This is a frozen abstraction, insisting that religion necessitates a belief in the supernatural or divine, which it does not. "Religion" is defined as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." As atheism is indeed a set of beliefs, in this case that the supernatural and the divine do not exist and that there is only one plain of existence, which definitely is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, it can safely be called a religion. While religions often involve the belief in "a superhuman agency or agencies" which may have created the universe, and typically have "devotional and ritual observances", they are not necessary in order to establish a belief system as a religion. Atheism also definitely has "a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs", such as that humanity as a people must eventually move past our need to believe in the supernatural and divine. The idea springs from the fallacy that a lack of proof constitutes proof of opposite: "There is no proof that the supernatural or the divine exists, therefore they do not exist, therefore atheism requires no belief, therefore it is not a religion." As lack of proof is not the same as proof of opposite, the more honest approach is: "There is no proof that the supernatural or the divine exists, therefore I believe they are fictional." The involvement of a belief, including a belief that something is not true, still constitutes a religion.