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Fallacy of Composition

Abstract: The fallacy of Composition, the belief that what is true of the parts of something is true of the whole, is described with examples. In science, inferences using composition are sometimes useful heuristically for suggesting hypotheses for testing.

  1. Composition: (1) the fallacy committed by reasoning from the fact that since one or more individual things or events have one or more specific characteristics, the claimed conclusion is, therefore, the whole group has those one or more specific characteristics also
    or
    (2) the fallacy committed by reasoning from the fact that since one or more parts of a whole have one or more specific characteristics, the claimed conclusion is, therefore, the whole has those one or more specific characteristics as well.

    1. The kind of set, group, or collection composed of individual things or parts can be of several kinds:
         
      1. Physical collections: e.g., a rock, an ocean, the sun.
      2. Functional collections: e.g., a computer, a human being, a nation.
      3. Conceptual collections: e.g., homo sapiens, rhomboids (rhombic prisms), the good.

    2. In brief, in the fallacy of Composition (1) what is thought to be true of the members of a class is thought to be true of the class, itself 
      or  
      (2) what is true of the parts of a class is thought to be true of the class, itself.

  2. Examples of the fallacy of composition:

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