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Secundum quid

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Title: Secundum quid  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Ignoratio elenchi, Slothful induction, Availability heuristic, Fallacies of illicit transference, Correlative-based fallacies
Collection: Informal Fallacies, Latin Logical Phrases
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Secundum quid

Secundum quid (also called secundum quid et simpliciter, meaning "[what is true] in a certain respect and [what is true] absolutely") is a type of informal fallacy that occurs when the arguer fails to recognize the difference between rules of thumb (soft generalizations, heuristics that hold true as a general rule but leave room for exceptions) and categorical propositions, rules that hold true universally.

Since it ignores the limits, or qualifications, of rules of thumb, this fallacy is also named ignoring qualifications. The expression misuse of a principle can be used as well.[1]


  • Example 1
  • Types 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Water boils at a temperature of 212° Fahrenheit; therefore boiling water will be hot enough to cook an egg hard in five minutes: but if we argue thus at an altitude of 5,000 feet, we shall be disappointed; for the height, through the difference in the pressure of the air, qualifies the truth of our general principle.
— H. W. B. Joseph

Compare with:

All persons are mortal.
Socrates is a person.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.


Instances of secundum quid are of two kinds:

  • Accidenta dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid (Where an acceptable exception is ignored.) [from general to qualified]
  • Converse accidenta dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter (Where an acceptable exception is eliminated or simplified.) [from qualified to general]

See also


  1. ^ Damer, T. Edward (2009), Attacking Faulty Reasoning (6th ed.), Wadsworth, p. 148,  
  • Parry, William T.; Hacker, Edward A. (1991), "A brief history of the fallacies of accident and secundum quid", Aristotelian Logic, SUNY Press, p. 438,  
  • Bunnin, Nicholas;  
  • Joseph, H. W. B. (1916), "The fallacy of Secundum Quid", An Introduction to Logic (2nd ed.), Clarendon Press, p. 589,  
  • Coffey, Peter (1912), The Science of Logic, Longmans, Green, and Company, p. 309,  
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