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Special Pleading is a logical fallacy or illogical argument which asserts that subjective understanding gained from either some direct experience or some group identity is superior to any other claim for truth based on logic and evidence. This fallacy is often deployed to avoid having to defend the indefensible or rescue a proposition being successfully challenged by logical argument.

Comtemporary or Recent ExamplesEdit

  • Mark Etherington begins his 2005 memoir, Revolt on the Tigris: The Al-Sadr Uprising and the Governing of Iraq, on page 4 with the following assertion: "Operational experience, particularly the kind derived from conflict and war, is largely unknowable by those who have not encountered it. No amount of reading and conversation can be successfully distilled into a synthesis of the events described." In effect Etherington has written, "You have to take my word and accept my interpretation because I have been there and you haven't." There are several problems with this. First, the reader is asked to give the author a pass and not think critically about assertions made. Second, if all first hand accounts must be accepted without challenge then how is the reader to resolve their inevitable contradictions?
  • According to the Fiji Times a complaint was filed by the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity (PCPI) that Prime Minister Laisenia Qarasecommented on television that only a Fijian (non-Indian) prime minister could understand the concerns of the Fijian people. News Article in New Kerala. Why an Indo-Fijian would have trouble doing so wasn't explained. The reality is that humans need not share the same national, linguistic, religious, racial or other identities to understand one another's needs.

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