An association fallacy is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone says that a quality of one thing must applies to another just because they share a similar quality or belief. It can be used in a positive or negative way.
It follows the general outline, A is a B, A is also a C, therefore, all Bs are Cs.
An example of an association fallacy being used in positive way (called pro hominem, or honour by association) is as follows:
- Citizens of Country X won more Nobel Prizes, gold medals, and literary awards than citizens of Country Y. Therefore, a citizen of Country X is superior to a citizen of Country Y.
An example of an association fallacy being used in a negative way (called guilt by association) is as follows:
- John is a shoplifter. John has black hair. Therefore, all people with black hair are shoplifters.
- Mauk, John (2015). Inventing Arguments, Brief. Cengage Learning. p. 53.
- "Fallacy: Guilt By Association." The Nizkor Project. The Nizkor Project, n.d. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/guilt-by-association.html>.