The basic definition of the Logical Fallacy TRUTH BY ASSOCIATION IS: IF ONE PART OF A GIVEN SET OR GROUP CONTAINS, OR EXHIBITS, A SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTIC, THAN ALL OTHER PARTS MUST SHARE THE SAME CHARACTERISTIC. ( This is my definition.)
It can be used in different ways, and all of them are equally fallacious. In fact, it's practically the motto for every form of prejudice that we encounter in daily life.
Consider the following statements;
- "You should be careful, everyone knows how dangerous (Insert group here) are."
- "Don't listen to him, he's a (Insert group here), and their all a bunch of crooks."
- "A (Insert group here) Doctor? Can't be very good, everyone knows how dumb they are."
Let's turn it around.
- "She should marry him, everyone knows that (Insert group here) are hard workers"
- "What did you say the name was? Oh, that's ok then. (Insert group here) know
all about computers."
- "Cheated? No way, everyone knows (Insert group here) are faithful, and would never do something like that."
Yes, the above examples seem relatively simple. However, such judgments are usually hidden inside every day conversation, and are not always easy to spot.
So, be careful and listen more closely when another gives an opinion that labels an entire group as having certain universal characteristics.
Because, one day, you may be in that group.