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Subjectivist Fallacy Summary

(also known as: relativist fallacy)

Description: Claiming something is true for one person, but not for someone else when, in fact, it is true for everyone (objective) as demonstrated by empirical evidence.

Logical Form:

Person 1 claims that Y is true.

Person 2 claims that Y is true for some people, but not for everyone (even though empirical evidence demonstrates otherwise).

Example #1:

Jane: You know, smoking might not be the most healthy habit to start.

Terry: Smoking is unhealthy for most people, but not for me.

Explanation: Sorry Terry, smoking is unhealthy for everyone — you are no different.

Example #2:

Jack: Sorry, your argument is full of contradictions.

Ted: Contradictions only apply to the carnal mind, not the spiritual one.

Explanation: Besides being a case of the subjectivist fallacy, Ted is also moving outside the realm of reason and logic.

Exception: Many things are actually true or false, depending on the person to which the rule may or may not apply.

While Twinkies may be horrible to you, I find them delicious—baked, spongy sunshine with a white, creamy, cloud-like center, with the power to make any problem go away—even if just for a brief, magical moment.

What Now: Stay away from Twinkies.

References:

Peacocke, C. (2005). The Realm of Reason. Clarendon Press.