Dicto Simpliciter - Secundum Quid

(Destroying the Rule)



The argument exploits an over-simplistic or unqualified statement of a rule to argue, based on what should be recognized as a legitimate exception, that the rule should be rejected altogether.



The Latin phrase "secundum quid" is complicated. In this context, "secundum" means "according to" rather than "following after" (which is its more usual meaning). "Quid" means "something," i.e. some particular thing. Hence the phrase means, "according to the particular case." While Secundum Quid is the oldest name for this fallacy, it is sometimes called Reverse Accident (or Converse Accident) in moden sources, in recognition of its relation to the other Dicto Simpliciter fallacy, the fallacy of Accident.



"Did you see that ambulance run that red light? Clearly, people can drive any way they like around here."


"I don't see why we have to have class every day this week. Last week we got out one day because of that bad snow storm."



For a discussion of this fallacy, see Dicto Simpliciter.


Source: Aristotle, Sophistical Refutations 5 (167a: 1 - 20). Aristotle described the fallacy, but called it "unqualified generalization." He did not explicitly pair it with the fallacy of Accident.


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