Someone sent me an example from the U S. An examiner, who claimed to have a Ph D, failed an exam candidate on one question for saying that Australia was a country. The examiner thought it was a continent. Why couldn’t it be both?
The fallacy might sometimes be called ‘the single cause fallacy’. The U S President put such a fallacy on horrific show after the Florida murders of school children – in which murders he was complicit. He said that the issue was mental health, not gun control. Then, in a display of callous inanity which was revolting even by his standards, he suggested that these murders may not have happened if the FBI had not been preoccupied with the Russian investigation. Is it not obvious that all three of those issues may have been involved in these murders?
On a lighter note, Phillip Coorey, whose work I like, began a piece in the AFR about a fallen politician as follows:
Party officials believe increasingly that Barnaby Joyce’s tenure as Nationals leader has become untenable but say the ultimate decision whether to keep him rests with Nationals MPs.
There is no error of logic or syntax there, but the choice of words is unfortunate. ‘Tenure’ and ‘untenable’ involve the same concept and stem – holding. So, the proposition is that the holding is unholdable. In defence of Mr Coorey, it might be said that the subject does cry out for Basil Fawlty.