Examples[ edit ] The fallacy is commonly used to justify actions, perhaps most noticeably in conflicts between countries and ethnic groups. Palestinians and Jews alike can point to perceived injustices committed by the other side, in some cases stretching in to the distant past. This same pattern can be seen in arguments over the Crusades in which Muslims and Christians attempt to attribute blame by citing slights committed by the other side. America and China execute people, so why can't we?
History[ edit ] The phrase "two wrongs infer one right" appears in a poem dated topublished in The London Magazine. You shouldn't embezzle from your employer. It's against the law.
My employer cheats on their taxes. That's against the law, too! If Speaker B believes in the maxim "the law should be followed," then his unstated premise is that breaking the law or the wrong is justified, as long as the other party also does so.
Yet if Speaker B believes the maxim "it is acceptable to break the law to wrong those who also break the law" he is committing no logical fallacy. From the conversation above, it is impossible to know which Speaker B believes. This fallacy is often used as a red herringor an attempt to change or distract from the issue.
President Williams lied in his testimony to Congress.
He should not do that. But you are ignoring the fact that President Roberts lied in his Congressional testimony! Even if President Roberts lied in his Congressional testimony, this does not establish a precedent that makes it acceptable for President Williams to do so as well.
At best, it means Williams is no worse than Roberts. By invoking the fallacy, the contested issue of lying is ignored. The tu quoque fallacy is a specific type of "two wrongs make a right".
Accusing another of not practicing what they preachwhile appropriate in some situations, does not in itself invalidate an action or statement that is perceived as contradictory. Criticism[ edit ] Common use of the term, in the realm of business ethicshas been criticized by scholar Gregory S.
Kavka writing in the Journal of Business Ethics. Kavka refers back to philosophical concepts of retribution by Thomas Hobbes. He states that if something supposedly held up as a moral standard or common social rule is violated enough in society, then an individual or group within society can break that standard or rule as well since this keeps them from being unfairly disadvantaged.
As well, in specific circumstances violations of social rules can be defensible if done as direct responses to other violations.
For example, Kavka states that it is wrong to deprive someone of their property, but it is right to take property back from a criminal who takes another's property in the first place. He also states that one should be careful not to use this ambiguity as an excuse recklessly to violate ethical rules.
Thus, people who do the same wrongs in the future should rationally expect to get away as well. Lasky uses as an analogy the situation between John F.
Kennedy 's wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr.Lyrics to "Two Wrongs" song by Wyclef Jean: I'm just sitting here playing the guitar (City High. Claudette. Wyclef) Excuse me if you see me sc.
Two Wrongs Make a Right needs to be distinguished from retaliation or punishment, as it would not do to condemn these on logical grounds, though they may be morally objectionable. So, when children defend themselves by hitting or kicking another child, they may be morally to blame but not logically.
Description of Two Wrongs Make a Right. Two Wrongs Make a Right is a fallacy in which a person "justifies" an action against a person by asserting that the person would do the same thing to him/her, when the action is not necessary to prevent B from doing X to A.
The Civil Rights Cases, U.S.
3 (), were a group of five US Supreme Court constitutional law cases. Against the famous dissent of Justice Harlan, a majority held the Civil Rights Act of was unconstitutional, because Congress lacked authority to regulate private affairs under the Fourteenth Amendment, and that the Thirteenth Amendment "merely abolishes slavery".
Argumentum Consensus Gentium. See Appeal to Traditional Wisdom.. Availability Heuristic. We have an unfortunate instinct to base an important decision on an easily recalled, dramatic example, even though we know the example is atypical.
The two-wrongs-make-a-right-fallacy is a fallacy of relevance, or a superficial argument based on irrelevant observations or thoughts. In reality, if your action is not right, it doesn't matter if.