Saturday, August 19, 2006

Logical Fallacies, Part 7: Non Sequitur

The non sequitur is closely related to the post hoc argument. The non sequitur (Latin for “it does not follow”) occurs when the writer incorrectly links two events or draws a conclusion that contradicts its premise. We also use the term non sequitur to refer to nonsensical statements in general. Example:

Sensation’s sales force needs to be more aggressive in territories the company recently entered. How ironic, then, that Sensation has enjoyed a six-year track record of uninterrupted growth.

In the framework of this sentence, past results have nothing to do with current plans in a new area of business. In fact, the company might have enjoyed six years of uninterrupted growth precisely because it takes aggressive positions in new territories.

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