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Opposite to the fallacy of composition, the fallacy of division is an incorrect inference that the characteristics of the parts can be deduced from the characteristics of the whole.

The fallacies are based on a confusion between what is true of the part and what is true of the whole

Example of the fallacy of division

  • Because large objects are made of atoms, large objects have the properties of atoms, and atoms have the properties of large objects. This is the fallacy of division because quantum mechanics demonstrably only operates on a very small scale, and classical physics demonstrably only operates on a macro scale.
  • Birds cannot fly, because feathers can’t fly, visceral organs can’t fly and neither bones nor muscles can fly.

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