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Suppressed correlative

The logical fallacy of suppressed correlative is a type of argument which tries to redefine a correlative (two mutually exclusive options) so that one alternative encompasses the other, i.e. making one alternative impossible.


  1. Anne: "OK, I can prove that Ants are not small. To Bacteria they are large". Bill: "OK, so Bacteria are small!". Anne: "No, because to a virus they are large. Everything is large to something, so nothing is really small!"
  2. Well, I would give money to the poor, but I believe that the world is so wonderful and rich that nobody can really be poor.
  3. Priest: "God is what science can't explain - you can explain how the body works, not why your ancestors survived and you are here and alive and not someone else." Atheist: "Well by that definition I suppose everyone believes in God"
  4. All dogs are black, when it is dark. Therefore Lassie is a black dog.

This type of fallacy is often used in conjunction with one of the fallacies of definition, once the priest has used a suppressed correlative to demonstrate that something must be true they will switch back to the standard definition. For example the priest, having got the atheist to say that by the given definition there must be a God could say that since you believe there must be a God you should go to church, pray to Jesus etc.

See Also

correlative based fallacies