Original-position fallacy

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The original-position fallacy is the informal logical fallacy of favoring a social structure that benefits a certain group because one assumes without analysis that one would necessarily be a member of that group. The fallacy is named after the concept of the "original position" developed by John Rawls.

The best known example of the fallacy and of its refutation is the following possibly apocryphal conversation:

  • "I wish we lived in Victorian England, so that we could have servants."
  • "If we lived in Victorian England, we'd be the servants."

As a real-world example, militant homosexuals favor mobocracy to further their agenda:[1]

“I think people of faith feel the tide turning so strongly that all they’re looking for is some reasonable accommodation, because they view that there is this secular church, if you will, that’s trying to impose its belief system upon every­body else,” he said. “As in, ‘You agree with all this or else.’ ”

However, they are heedless of the fact that the mob does not agree with them everywhere in the world and will not necessarily always agree with them even in countries where it now does.


  1. Religious freedom or license to discriminate? The Washington Post, February 12, 2016