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Incomplete Order Fallacy

Updated Mar 13, 2023

The Incomplete Order Fallacy: Making Sense of Logical Errors

Have you ever found yourself making decisions based on incomplete information? We are all prone to cognitive biases and logical errors from time to time. One such fallacy that frequently trips people up is the Incomplete Order Fallacy. In this article, we will explore what this fallacy entails and how it can affect our reasoning process.

Understanding the Incomplete Order Fallacy

The Incomplete Order Fallacy occurs when a conclusion is drawn from a limited or insufficient set of information. Essentially, it is a form of overgeneralization that fails to take into account all relevant factors. People tend to jump to conclusions based on partial evidence, leading to flawed reasoning and potentially erroneous conclusions.

Examples of the Incomplete Order Fallacy

To better illustrate this fallacy, let's consider a couple of examples:

Example 1: Stereotyping based on a single encounter

Imagine meeting someone for the first time and forming a negative opinion about their character solely based on one interaction. This would be an example of the Incomplete Order Fallacy. By extrapolating a general conclusion about the person's entire personality from a single encounter, you fail to consider other possible factors or instances that could provide a more accurate representation.

Example 2: Drawing conclusions from limited data

Suppose you are conducting a survey on people's opinions about a specific topic. However, you only gather responses from a small sample size and use that data to draw broad conclusions about the entire population. This would be an instance of the Incomplete Order Fallacy. By not considering a representative sample or gathering enough data, your conclusions may not accurately reflect the opinions of the wider population.

Implications and Avoidance Strategies

The Incomplete Order Fallacy can have significant consequences in various aspects of life, including personal relationships, decision-making processes, and statistical analysis. To minimize the occurrence of this fallacy, here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Seek out additional information: Actively gather more data or evidence before drawing conclusions. By expanding the scope of your research, you increase the chances of making well-informed decisions.

  2. Consider alternative perspectives: Challenge your initial assumptions and be open to different viewpoints. By doing so, you can avoid jumping to hasty conclusions and develop a more nuanced understanding of a situation.

  3. Be aware of cognitive biases: Understanding the various cognitive biases that can influence our thinking is crucial. By recognizing potential biases, you can consciously work to counteract their effects and make more rational judgments.

  4. Practice critical thinking: Engage in thoughtful analysis and evaluation of information. By developing a habit of critical thinking, you can identify gaps in your knowledge or evidence and strive to fill them before forming conclusions.


The Incomplete Order Fallacy reminds us of the importance of thoroughness and careful consideration in our reasoning processes. By acknowledging the limitations of our knowledge and actively seeking out additional information, we can avoid drawing flawed conclusions based on incomplete data. Remember, good decision-making requires a comprehensive understanding of the whole picture, not just fragments of it.


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