Nominal Fallacy

🧠 Psych - 118 / 200


How are you doing?

Today, We will be learning about Nominal Fallacy.

What is it?

Also known as the Naming-explaining fallacy, it suggests that just because you have given something a certain tag, the tag is enough to explain that something.

Examples -

It was for quite some time thought that when chickens hatched and immediately began pecking the ground for food, this behavior must have been instinctive.

In the 1920s, a Chinese researcher named Zing-Yang Kuo made a remarkable set of observations on the developing chick egg that overturned this idea—and many similar ones.

Using a technique of elegant simplicity, he found that rubbing heated Vaseline on a chicken egg caused it to become transparent enough so that he could see the embryo inside without disturbing it.

In this way, he was able to make detailed observations of the chick’s development, from fertilization to hatching.

One of his observations was that in order for the growing embryo to fit properly in the egg, the neck is bent over the chest in such a way that the headrests on the chest are just where the developing heart is encased.

As the heart begins beating, the head of the chicken is moved up and down in a manner that precisely mimics the movement that will be used later for pecking the ground.

Thus the “innate” pecking behavior that the chicken appears to know miraculously upon birth has, in fact, been practiced for more than a week within the egg. [1]

Where does it occur?

In places where things are labeled or categorized using specific terms. Even though categorization can give you a brief knowledge about a type of thing, it shouldn’t be the only way to understand or the way to truly learn about a topic of interest.

Why do I need to know?

Nominal Fallacy is a false belief that a phenomenon is understood if it’s named or labeled.

References & Studies: -


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