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Legal Technique & Logic

Atty. David Ballesteros

Alfonso Parungao IV
Liza Cainap
Laarni Bautista

We commit the fallacy of composition when we mistakenly impute the attributes of a part
of a whole to the whole itself.
The argument being made is that because every part has some characteristic, then the
whole must necessarily also have that characteristic.
This is a fallacy because not everything that is true about every part of an object is
necessarily true of the whole, much less about the entire class that the object is part of.

This is the general form that the Fallacy of Composition takes:

Example: The house is built using the materials of X. Thus the house is owned by X.
Examples and Discussion on Fallacy of Composition
Example: The machineries owned by A are immovable. Thus, the properties owned by A are all
Explanation: It is not the case that what is true of the parts can't also be true of the whole. It is
possible to make arguments similar to the above which are not fallacious and which have
conclusions which follow validly from the premises.
Example: All of the things inside his bag is made of plastic materials, then the bag itself is made
of plastic materials.
Explanation: This is fallacious based on the fact that the bag itself is made entirely of plastic
materials an attributable conclusion is made that the things inside are also made of plastic
Fallacy of Composition is an informal fallacy, you have to look at the content rather than the
structure of the argument. When you examine the content, you will find something special about
the characteristics being applied.
A characteristic can be transferred from the parts to the whole when the existence of that
characteristic in the parts is what will cause it to be true of the whole.

When someone offers an argument like the above and you are skeptical that it is valid, you need
to look very closely at the content of both the premises and the conclusion. You may need to ask
that the person demonstrate the necessary connection between an attribute being true of the parts
and it also being true of the whole.
Example: Each member of the Dela Cruz family is paying their income tax. Therefore all income
of Dela Cruz family is taxable.
Explanation: This is fallacious because it assumes that since each of the members of the is
paying their income taxes, taxes is already attributable to all of the income derive by the family.
These examples help demonstrate the distinction between formal and informal fallacies. The
error isn't recognizable simply by looking at the structure of the arguments being made. Instead,
you have to look at the content of the claims. When you do that, you can see that the premises
are insufficient to demonstrate the truth of the conclusions.