Logical  Fallacy: a error in reasoning
  (adj)     (noun)

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Below is the statement as it appears with the fallacy marked as correct. You can see the totals of most frequent responses to this statement. And after reading the any discussion going on below, you can select your choice(s) for the correct answer. For now, whoever posts each statement can update corrections.
"Sodium chloride (table salt) may be safely eaten. Therefore its constituent elements, sodium and chlorine, may be safely eaten."
Fallacy of Division
Category: Fallacies of Ambiguity

The fallacy of Division is committed when a person infers that what is true of a whole must also be true of its constituents and justification for that inference is not provided. There are two main variants of the general fallacy of Division:

The first type of fallacy of Division is committed when 1) a person reasons that what is true of the whole must also be true of the parts and 2) the person fails to justify that inference with the required degree of evidence. More formally, the "reasoning" follows this sort of pattern:

  1. The whole, X, has properties A, B, C, etc.
  2. Therefore the parts of X have properties A,B,C, etc.
That this line of reasoning is fallacious is made clear by the following case: 4 is an even number. 1 and 3 are parts of 4. Therefore 1 and 3 are even.

It should be noted that it is not always fallacious to draw a conclusion about the parts of a whole based on the properties of the whole. As long as adequate evidence is provided in the argument, the reasoning can be acceptable. For example, the human body is made out of matter and it is reasonable to infer from this that the parts that make up the human body are also made out of matter. This is because there is no reason to believe that the body is made up of nonā€material parts that somehow form matter when they get together.

The second version of the fallacy of division is committed when a person 1) draws a conclusion about the properties of individual members of a class or group based on the collective properties of the class or group and 2) there is not enough justification for the conclusion. More formally, the line of "reasoning" is as follows:

  1. As a collective, group or class X has properties A,B,C, etc.
  2. Therefore the individual members of group or class X have properties A,B,C, etc.
That this sort of reasoning is fallacious can be easily shown by the following: It is true that athletes, taken as a group, are football players, track runners, swimmers, tennis players, long jumpers, pole vaulters and such. But it would be fallacious to infer that each individual athlete is a football player, a track runner, a swimmer, a tennis player, a swimmer, etc.

It should be noted that it is not always fallacious to draw a conclusion about an individual based on what is true of the class he/she/it belongs to. If the inference is backed by evidence, then the reasoning can be fine. For example, it is not fallacious to infer that Bill the Siamese cat is a mammal from the fact that all cats are mammals. In this case, what is true of the class is also true of each individual member.

Click For Fallacy Description

 980 Total Answer Attempts   67%
 658 Correctly Popped Fallacies
 322 Incorrectly Un/Popped

Most Common Responses

658 - Fallacy of Division
57 - Fallacy of Composition
45 - Hasty Generalization
21 - Misleading Vividness
18 - Genetic Fallacy
17 - Confusing Cause and Effect
14 - Biased Generalization
12 - Appeal to Belief
11 - Appeal to the Consequences of a Belief
10 - Post Hoc
10 - False Dilemma
10 - Ignoring a Common Cause
9 - Red Herring
8 - Circumstantial Ad Hominem
8 - Relativist Fallacy
8 - Burden of Proof
8 - Middle Ground
7 - Slippery Slope
7 - Guilt by Association
6 - Appeal to Common Practice
5 - Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
5 - Begging the Question
4 - Ad Hominem
4 - Special Pleading
3 - Peer Pressure
2 - Gambler's Fallacy
2 - Appeal to Popularity
2 - Appeal to Spite
2 - Personal Attack
2 - Poisoning the Well
2 - Appeal to Ridicule
2 - Appeal to Flattery
1 - Appeal to Tradition

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