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Guilt By Association

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Also known as: Association Fallacy, Hasty Generalization, Honor By Association

An association fallacy is an inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association.

Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.

The most common objective in employing a Guilt By Association fallacy is as a distraction to avoid discussing the actual issue, instead choosing to marginalize the topic and dismiss detailed inquiry as unnecessary.

A very popular type of Guilt By Association is the infamous Godwin argument. Hitler, being the most famous strawman icon to compare people to, makes an ideal often-irrelevant analogy to compare something with in order to dismiss the issue or person entirely.

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