Stolen concept

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The fallacy of the stolen concept, also known as the fallacy of the self-negating statement, is the logical fallacy of implicitly affirming what one wants to disprove or, alternatively, implicitly denying what one wants to prove. That is, the conclusion contradicts one of the premises. More formally, the fallacy starts with a premise P and somehow reaches the conclusion not-P. The term "stolen concept" refers to a concept that is "stolen" from the context that gives that concept meaning.

Examples

  • Socialists claim that property is theft, but the concept of theft presupposes a right to own property.
  • Postmodernists claim to know objectively that objective knowledge is impossible.
  • Liberal Christians claim that the Bible, when "rightly" divided and "correctly" interpreted, is the ultimate authority on faith. However, for that to work, the truly ultimate authority on faith would be the standard used for choosing which Bible verses to follow and for interpreting them, not the Bible itself.
  • Pro-abortion activists argue that since there are no such things as unalienable rights, there is no right to life, so that there is an unalienable right to abortion.
  • Liberals justify special rights as furthering equality and oppose genuine equality as a special right.
  • Believers in various forms of egalitarianism implicitly argue that in the name of equality, they are entitled to tell everyone else how to live. More generally, equality of outcome requires that people of different abilities or the like be treated unequally.

See also

References

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To insist on finding a reference elsewhere for every statement made, as Wikipedia does, is to be a slave to hearsay. The authors of this page have enough confidence in their own insight not to lean on the opinions and assertions of others.

External link