Non sequitur fallacy

The non-sequitur fallacy occurs when a conclusion is drawn that does not logically follow from what was said before it. This leads to a disconnect between the premises and the conclusion - the two ideas don't logically link together.

Non sequitur means "does not follow" in Latin.

youtube-video-thumbnail

Video by Colburn Classroom | Used under Creative Commons license

How it works with disinformation?

Here's how we may spot the non sequitur fallacy in mis- and disinformation context:

  • Making misleading associations or false connections between unrelated concepts.
  • Triggering logical leaps by presenting unsupported or illogical claims as if they naturally follow from the initial statement, exploiting people's tendency to make intuitive but faulty reasoning.
  • Creating false narratives by stringing together unrelated claims and shaping a particular narrative that aligns with the proponent's agenda.
  • Creating doubt and confusion in an attempt to distract and misdirect attention away from the main topic.
  • Engaging in emotional manipulation to evoke emotional responses by presenting emotionally charged but logically disconnected statements, that help bypass people's critical thinking faculties.

 

Suggested use in training

  • Fallacy Detective Game: Divide your learners into teams and provide them with examples of both non-sequitur fallacies and valid arguments. Have students identify which statements are non-sequiturs and explain why. Run this in a competitive format.
    (Note that you may use this learning activity with any logical fallacy and may combine several fallacies in a single activity)
  • Fallacy Challenge: Ask your learners to find social media posts, articles or clips from movies, TV shows, or political speeches where non-sequitur fallacy might be present. Have the learners establish the context and explain the collected resources. Discuss why they are used and why they might be persuasive