Understanding Fallacies

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Fallacy of Definition

Too Narrow

The definition does not include items which should be included.


  1. An apple is something which is red and round.   (Golden Delicious apples are apples, however, they are not red (they are yellow). Thus they are not included in the definition, however, they should be.)
  2. A book is pornographic if and only if it contains pictures of naked people. (The books written by the Marquis de Sade do not contain pictures. However, they are widely regarded as pornographic. Thus, the definition is too narrow.
  3. Something is music if and only if it is played on a piano.  (A drum solo cannot be played on a piano, yet it is still considered music.)


Identify the term being defined. Identify the conditions in the definition. Find an item which is an instance of the term but does not meet the conditions.


Cedarblom and Paulsen: 182

Reference Guide
Fallacy Summary

The content of this Fallacy originated from Stephen Downes Guide to Logical Fallacies.


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