The Comparative Set Fallacy

Argumentation 18 (2):213-222 (2004)

M. V. Dougherty
Ohio Dominican University
This paper argues for the validity of inferences that take the form of: A is more X than B; therefore A and B are both X. After considering representative counterexamples, it is claimed that these inferences are valid if and only if the comparative terms in the inference are taken from no more than one comparative set, where a comparative set is understood to be comprised of a positive, comparative, and superlative, represented as {X, more X than, most X}. In all instances where arguments appearing to be of this form are invalid, it is the case that the argument has fallaciously taken terms from more than one comparative set. The fallacy of appealing to more than one comparative set in an inference involving comparative terms is shown to be analogous to the fallacy of equivocation in argumentation. The paper concludes by suggesting a conflation of logical issues with grammatical issues is the core difficulty leading some to consider inferences in the form of A is more X than B; therefore A and B are X to be invalid
Keywords comparative  comparative sets  equivocation  inferences  informal fallacies  positive  reasoning and argument  superlative
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:ARGU.0000024022.45061.c7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,182
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #698,247 of 2,289,505 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #838,743 of 2,289,505 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature