Top Logical Fallacies: Non sequitur
A non sequitur (literally, does not follow) is a logical fallacy. Reasoning is said to be non sequitur if the conclusion does not follow from the premises or if a given reason for taking an action is completely irrelevant to taking that action.
For example, the police chief’s reasoning was a non sequitur when he defended consulting a psychic “to help investigators crack the case” based on the premise that “we tried everything else and haven’t solved the case.”
The fact that the case hadn’t been solved using traditional police methods is irrelevant to whether consulting a psychic is a method that should be used.
The error in reasoning should become obvious if we substitute “pick a name randomly out of the phone book to identify the main suspect ” for “consult a psychic.” The fact that you haven’t solved the case using traditional methods provides no support for trying a non-traditional method. To justify trying a non-traditional method, one needs direct evidence that the non-traditional method has some merit.
One often finds that non sequitur reasoning given by those trying to justify hiring a psychic or going to an “alternative” therapist is accompanied by another fallacy: the questionable assumption. For example, ”we had nothing to lose by consulting a psychic” or “I had nothing to lose by going to a homeopath” are questionable claims. You could be losing time and money that could be better spent.
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