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Question on Flaw Types

dazedandconfused-1dazedandconfused-1 Alum Member
in General 258 karma

Hey all,

Can we think that "confusing a possible solution as the only solution" to be similar to "confusing the sufficient for necessary", or is there another nuanced difference between the two that I'm not quite catching onto?


  • taschasptaschasp Alum Member Sage
    796 karma

    Take the usual invalid argument:



    You can say this is invalid in two ways. One is to say you're confusing sufficiency for necessity -- in other words, you're reading "A -> B" as if it were "B -> A"

    The other is to say that you're assuming that nothing other than A could ever imply B, in other words that A is the only possible trigger (or "solution") for B.

    Think about something like this:

    If Samantha leaves town, she will have to look for a dog sitter. Samantha is looking for a dog sitter, therefore she must be leaving town.

    You could say it's confusing sufficiency for necessity. But you could also just say that the argument assumes that leaving town is the only reason Samantha would ever look for a dog sitter. If nothing else would ever trigger her looking for a dog sitter, then that'd actually be fine.

    If you think about it, formally, this is actually how a phenomenon-hypothesis argument (formally, abductive reasoning) works. The phenomenon is that Samantha is looking for a dog sitter, and we're trying to figure out why. A good guess would be that she's leaving town. If we can exclude other possibilities, then we might think that's a pretty good hypothesis. But without considering other possibilities, if we just immediately assume that she's left town, then we are assuming that leaving town (a possible solution) is the only solution to the question of why she's looking for a dog sitter -- hence confusing a possible solution for being the only solution.

  • Andrew_NeimanAndrew_Neiman Alum Member
    258 karma

    @taschasp This is such a great explanation of the concept. One of the best I've seen :)

  • dazedandconfused-1dazedandconfused-1 Alum Member
    258 karma

    @Andrew_Neiman agreed! thank you @taschasp for your help! Also, I have to say I'm a big fan of whiplash too @Andrew_Neiman :)

  • Andrew_NeimanAndrew_Neiman Alum Member
    258 karma

    @dazedandconfused :) When I am drilling logic games, I imagine Fletcher yelling at me Not quite my tempo. :(

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