Irrelevant conclusion


The irrelevant conclusion fallacy builds an argument by introducing a secondary premise that appears to be linked to the initial premise. The fallacy would be easy to spot if the secondary premise was entirely different. However, if both premises are on the same subject you probably won't notice how weak the link is. Your focus moves on to the secondary premise and the conclusion flows from this premise. There is a strong link between the secondary premise and the conclusion, and this pushes you to accept the conclusion. The argument is complete. In your mind, you have accepted all the links and therefore you agree the conclusion applies to the initial premise. The fallacy is in accepting the weak initial link. The logical connection between the premises was not proven and therefore the conclusion should not be accepted.


Name of fallacy Irrelevant conclusion
Aliases Ignoratio elenchi, irrelevant thesis
Type Irrelevant Argument, Informal Argument
Description Introducing an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question
Example "I think that we should make the academic requirements stricter for students. I recommend that you support this, because we are in a budget crisis and we do not want our salaries affected."
Topic A is the proposal that academic requirements be raised. Topic B is the possible effects of a budget crisis on teacher salaries. Topic A is abandoned and the unrelated topic B is introduced.
Form 
Treatment Show that the new argument has different premises and is not part of the deductive reasoning of the core argument.  If the new argument is an inductive argument then show that the observations and inference are not relevant to the core argument. Finally, if the introduced argument is a fallacy name it and demonstrate the fallacy.