Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Logical Fallacy of the Week, Week 37: Fallacy of Quoting Out of Context

The practice of quoting out of context, sometimes referred to as "contextomy" or "quote mining", is a logical fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.
Arguments based on this fallacy typically take two forms. As a straw man argument, which is frequently found in politics, it involves quoting an opponent out of context in order to misrepresent their position (typically to make it seem more simplistic or extreme) in order to make it easier to refute. As an appeal to authority, it involves quoting an authority on the subject out of context, in order to misrepresent that authority as supporting some position.

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