The Non Sequitur Fallacy, which translates to “it does not follow” in Latin, occurs when the conclusion of an argument does not logically follow from the premises or evidence provided. In other words, it involves making a claim or drawing a conclusion that is irrelevant, unrelated, or disconnected from the initial premises or evidence.

Key Elements1. Lack of Logical Connection: This fallacy arises when there is no logical or evidential connection between the premises and the conclusion. 2. Inappropriate Shift: It involves a sudden and unjustified shift in the argument’s subject matter or focus. 3. Failure to Prove the Claim: The argument fails to provide sufficient evidence or reasoning to support the conclusion. 4. Misdirection: It can be used to mislead or distract from the actual issue.
Common ApplicationThe Non Sequitur Fallacy can manifest in various contexts, including debates, advertising, political discourse, and everyday conversations when an argument introduces irrelevant information or draws unrelated conclusions.
Example“I heard that Joe is a vegetarian. Therefore, he must be good at playing the guitar.”
ImportanceRecognizing the Non Sequitur Fallacy is essential for critical thinking and argument evaluation because it highlights the need for logical coherence and relevance in constructing persuasive arguments.
Case StudyImplicationAnalysisExample
Political Campaign PromiseMisleading voters with unrelated claims.A political candidate promises to reduce unemployment rates by supporting local art programs. This argument lacks a logical connection between art programs and unemployment reduction, misleading voters about the candidate’s policy approach.A candidate claims that supporting local art programs will decrease unemployment rates without explaining the link.
Advertising SloganIrrelevant claims in marketing.An advertisement for a brand of toothpaste claims that using their product will lead to success in one’s career. This assertion lacks logical coherence, as toothpaste usage has no direct connection to career success, and it misleads consumers.An ad asserts that using a specific toothpaste brand will guarantee career success.
Criminal ProfilingUnsubstantiated conclusions in criminal investigations.A detective assumes that a suspect is guilty of a crime because the suspect was seen wearing a green jacket, which the detective believes is a “criminal’s choice of clothing.” This argument lacks a logical link between clothing choice and criminal behavior.A detective concludes that a suspect is guilty solely based on the color of their jacket.
Medical QuackeryFalse health claims.A promoter of a dubious health product argues that consuming their “miracle” supplement will improve memory and also help users win the lottery. This argument presents unrelated claims and lacks logical support for both assertions.A supplement promoter claims that their product will enhance memory and increase chances of winning the lottery.
Academic AssessmentUnrelated criteria in evaluating student performance.A teacher evaluates a student’s essay on history based on the student’s neatness of handwriting, with the assumption that neat handwriting reflects historical knowledge. This assessment lacks a logical connection between handwriting and historical understanding.A teacher grades an essay primarily based on the neatness of the student’s handwriting, neglecting content.


The term “Non-Sequitur” is Latin for “it does not follow.” In the context of logical fallacies, a Non-Sequitur occurs when the conclusion reached in an argument does not logically follow from the premises or evidence provided. In other words, the reasoning process takes a leap that is not justified by the information presented. Non-Sequitur fallacies can manifest in various forms, including irrelevant conclusions, appeals to emotion, and flawed cause-and-effect relationships.

Key Characteristics of Non-Sequitur:

Key Characteristics

  1. Logical Disconnect: The hallmark of a Non-Sequitur fallacy is the presence of a logical disconnect between the premises and the conclusion.
  2. Invalid Inference: The conclusion drawn in the argument cannot be logically inferred from the evidence or premises provided.
  3. Flawed Reasoning: Non-Sequitur fallacies often involve a breakdown in the logical or rational chain of reasoning.
  4. Deceptive Appeal: Some Non-Sequitur fallacies may appear persuasive on the surface but lack a valid logical foundation.
  5. Variety of Forms: Non-Sequitur fallacies can manifest in different forms, making them versatile and prevalent in various contexts.

Examples of Non-Sequitur

To illustrate the concept of Non-Sequitur, let’s examine some common examples:

1. “John is a great chef because he wears a chef’s hat.”

Explanation: This statement commits a Non-Sequitur fallacy by suggesting that wearing a chef’s hat is evidence of being a great chef. The conclusion (being a great chef) does not logically follow from the premise (wearing a chef’s hat).

2. “If we don’t pass this bill, the economy will collapse. Therefore, we should pass the bill without further discussion.”

Explanation: This argument commits a Non-Sequitur fallacy by claiming that the dire consequence of an economic collapse justifies passing the bill without further discussion. The conclusion does not logically follow from the premise, as there is no evidence provided to support the causal link between the bill’s passage and preventing an economic collapse.

3. “You should buy this car because it’s the same brand the president drives.”

Explanation: This argument commits a Non-Sequitur fallacy by suggesting that buying a car because the president drives the same brand is a valid reason. The conclusion (buying the car) does not logically follow from the premise (the president’s brand preference), as it does not provide any relevant information about the car’s quality or suitability.

4. “I can’t be a poor student because my parents are rich.”

Explanation: This statement commits a Non-Sequitur fallacy by asserting that a person cannot be a poor student solely because their parents are wealthy. The conclusion (not being a poor student) does not logically follow from the premise (parents’ wealth), as academic performance depends on various factors unrelated to parental wealth.

5. “Our company’s profits are declining, so we should hire a motivational speaker to boost morale.”

Explanation: This argument commits a Non-Sequitur fallacy by proposing that hiring a motivational speaker is a solution to declining profits. The conclusion (hiring a speaker) does not logically follow from the premise (declining profits), as there is no direct connection between the two.

Implications of Non-Sequitur

Non-Sequitur fallacies can have several significant implications and consequences:

1. Flawed Arguments

Non-Sequitur fallacies render arguments invalid, making them unreliable for decision-making or persuasion.

2. Misleading Communication

They can mislead individuals by presenting unsupported conclusions as if they were logically derived from the evidence.

3. Poor Decision-Making

In decision-making processes, reliance on Non-Sequitur reasoning can lead to suboptimal choices based on faulty premises.

4. Ineffective Persuasion

When used in persuasive communication, Non-Sequitur fallacies may appear persuasive on the surface but lack a valid logical foundation, potentially leading to skepticism or resistance.

5. Impaired Critical Thinking

Encountering Non-Sequitur fallacies can impair critical thinking skills, as individuals must learn to discern and evaluate arguments for logical coherence.

Recognizing and Avoiding Non-Sequitur

To recognize and avoid Non-Sequitur fallacies, consider the following strategies:

1. Identify the Premises

Examine the premises or evidence provided in the argument and assess whether they logically lead to the conclusion.

2. Check for Relevance

Ensure that the premises presented are relevant to the conclusion being drawn and do not introduce unrelated information.

3. Question Assumptions

Question any assumptions or leaps in reasoning that are not supported by the evidence.

4. Evaluate Cause-and-Effect Claims

Be cautious when evaluating cause-and-effect claims in arguments, as Non-Sequitur fallacies often involve flawed causal relationships.

5. Practice Critical Thinking

Enhance your critical thinking skills by regularly evaluating arguments and claims for logical coherence.

Real-World Significance

Non-Sequitur fallacies are prevalent in various aspects of life, including politics, advertising, journalism, and everyday conversations:

1. Political Speeches

Politicians may use Non-Sequitur reasoning to support their policies or positions, relying on emotional appeals rather than logical connections.

2. Advertising and Marketing

Advertisements may employ Non-Sequitur fallacies to persuade consumers by associating a product with unrelated concepts or emotions.

3. News Reporting

In journalism, Non-Sequitur fallacies can occur when reporters draw conclusions that do not logically follow from the evidence presented in their stories.

4. Everyday Conversations

In everyday conversations, individuals may unintentionally use Non-Sequitur reasoning when making arguments or drawing conclusions without proper logical support.

5. Legal Arguments

Non-Sequitur fallacies can arise in legal arguments when attorneys draw conclusions that are not logically derived from the presented evidence.


Non-Sequitur is a common fallacy in reasoning that involves a disconnect between the premises or evidence presented and the conclusion drawn. Recognizing and avoiding Non-Sequitur fallacies is essential for critical thinking, effective communication, and informed decision-making. By carefully evaluating arguments for logical coherence, questioning assumptions, and considering the relevance of evidence, individuals can avoid the pitfalls of flawed reasoning and engage in more rational and sound discourse.

Connected Thinking Frameworks

Convergent vs. Divergent Thinking

Convergent thinking occurs when the solution to a problem can be found by applying established rules and logical reasoning. Whereas divergent thinking is an unstructured problem-solving method where participants are encouraged to develop many innovative ideas or solutions to a given problem. Where convergent thinking might work for larger, mature organizations where divergent thinking is more suited for startups and innovative companies.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves analyzing observations, facts, evidence, and arguments to form a judgment about what someone reads, hears, says, or writes.


The concept of cognitive biases was introduced and popularized by the work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1972. Biases are seen as systematic errors and flaws that make humans deviate from the standards of rationality, thus making us inept at making good decisions under uncertainty.

Second-Order Thinking

Second-order thinking is a means of assessing the implications of our decisions by considering future consequences. Second-order thinking is a mental model that considers all future possibilities. It encourages individuals to think outside of the box so that they can prepare for every and eventuality. It also discourages the tendency for individuals to default to the most obvious choice.

Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking is a business strategy that involves approaching a problem from a different direction. The strategy attempts to remove traditionally formulaic and routine approaches to problem-solving by advocating creative thinking, therefore finding unconventional ways to solve a known problem. This sort of non-linear approach to problem-solving, can at times, create a big impact.

Bounded Rationality

Bounded rationality is a concept attributed to Herbert Simon, an economist and political scientist interested in decision-making and how we make decisions in the real world. In fact, he believed that rather than optimizing (which was the mainstream view in the past decades) humans follow what he called satisficing.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias where people with low ability in a task overestimate their ability to perform that task well. Consumers or businesses that do not possess the requisite knowledge make bad decisions. What’s more, knowledge gaps prevent the person or business from seeing their mistakes.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor states that one should not increase (beyond reason) the number of entities required to explain anything. All things being equal, the simplest solution is often the best one. The principle is attributed to 14th-century English theologian William of Ockham.

Lindy Effect

The Lindy Effect is a theory about the ageing of non-perishable things, like technology or ideas. Popularized by author Nicholas Nassim Taleb, the Lindy Effect states that non-perishable things like technology age – linearly – in reverse. Therefore, the older an idea or a technology, the same will be its life expectancy.


Antifragility was first coined as a term by author, and options trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Antifragility is a characteristic of systems that thrive as a result of stressors, volatility, and randomness. Therefore, Antifragile is the opposite of fragile. Where a fragile thing breaks up to volatility; a robust thing resists volatility. An antifragile thing gets stronger from volatility (provided the level of stressors and randomness doesn’t pass a certain threshold).


Ergodicity is one of the most important concepts in statistics. Ergodicity is a mathematical concept suggesting that a point of a moving system will eventually visit all parts of the space the system moves in. On the opposite side, non-ergodic means that a system doesn’t visit all the possible parts, as there are absorbing barriers

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is a holistic means of investigating the factors and interactions that could contribute to a potential outcome. It is about thinking non-linearly, and understanding the second-order consequences of actions and input into the system.

Vertical Thinking

Vertical thinking, on the other hand, is a problem-solving approach that favors a selective, analytical, structured, and sequential mindset. The focus of vertical thinking is to arrive at a reasoned, defined solution.

Metaphorical Thinking

Metaphorical thinking describes a mental process in which comparisons are made between qualities of objects usually considered to be separate classifications.  Metaphorical thinking is a mental process connecting two different universes of meaning and is the result of the mind looking for similarities.

Maslow’s Hammer

Maslow’s Hammer, otherwise known as the law of the instrument or the Einstellung effect, is a cognitive bias causing an over-reliance on a familiar tool. This can be expressed as the tendency to overuse a known tool (perhaps a hammer) to solve issues that might require a different tool. This problem is persistent in the business world where perhaps known tools or frameworks might be used in the wrong context (like business plans used as planning tools instead of only investors’ pitches).

Peter Principle

The Peter Principle was first described by Canadian sociologist Lawrence J. Peter in his 1969 book The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle states that people are continually promoted within an organization until they reach their level of incompetence.

Straw Man Fallacy

The straw man fallacy describes an argument that misrepresents an opponent’s stance to make rebuttal more convenient. The straw man fallacy is a type of informal logical fallacy, defined as a flaw in the structure of an argument that renders it invalid.

Google Effect

The Google effect is a tendency for individuals to forget information that is readily available through search engines. During the Google effect – sometimes called digital amnesia – individuals have an excessive reliance on digital information as a form of memory recall.

Streisand Effect

The Streisand Effect is a paradoxical phenomenon where the act of suppressing information to reduce visibility causes it to become more visible. In 2003, Streisand attempted to suppress aerial photographs of her Californian home by suing photographer Kenneth Adelman for an invasion of privacy. Adelman, who Streisand assumed was paparazzi, was instead taking photographs to document and study coastal erosion. In her quest for more privacy, Streisand’s efforts had the opposite effect.

Compromise Effect

Single-attribute choices – such as choosing the apartment with the lowest rent – are relatively simple. However, most of the decisions consumers make are based on multiple attributes which complicate the decision-making process. The compromise effect states that a consumer is more likely to choose the middle option of a set of products over more extreme options.

Butterfly Effect

In business, the butterfly effect describes the phenomenon where the simplest actions yield the largest rewards. The butterfly effect was coined by meteorologist Edward Lorenz in 1960 and as a result, it is most often associated with weather in pop culture. Lorenz noted that the small action of a butterfly fluttering its wings had the potential to cause progressively larger actions resulting in a typhoon.

IKEA Effect

The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias that describes consumers’ tendency to value something more if they have made it themselves. That is why brands often use the IKEA effect to have customizations for final products, as they help the consumer relate to it more and therefore appending to it more value.

Ringelmann Effect 

Ringelmann Effect
The Ringelmann effect describes the tendency for individuals within a group to become less productive as the group size increases.

The Overview Effect

The overview effect is a cognitive shift reported by some astronauts when they look back at the Earth from space. The shift occurs because of the impressive visual spectacle of the Earth and tends to be characterized by a state of awe and increased self-transcendence.

House Money Effect

The house money effect was first described by researchers Richard Thaler and Eric Johnson in a 1990 study entitled Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice. The house money effect is a cognitive bias where investors take higher risks on reinvested capital than they would on an initial investment.


As highlighted by German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer in the paper “Heuristic Decision Making,” the term heuristic is of Greek origin, meaning “serving to find out or discover.” More precisely, a heuristic is a fast and accurate way to make decisions in the real world, which is driven by uncertainty.

Recognition Heuristic

The recognition heuristic is a psychological model of judgment and decision making. It is part of a suite of simple and economical heuristics proposed by psychologists Daniel Goldstein and Gerd Gigerenzer. The recognition heuristic argues that inferences are made about an object based on whether it is recognized or not.

Representativeness Heuristic

The representativeness heuristic was first described by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The representativeness heuristic judges the probability of an event according to the degree to which that event resembles a broader class. When queried, most will choose the first option because the description of John matches the stereotype we may hold for an archaeologist.

Take-The-Best Heuristic

The take-the-best heuristic is a decision-making shortcut that helps an individual choose between several alternatives. The take-the-best (TTB) heuristic decides between two or more alternatives based on a single good attribute, otherwise known as a cue. In the process, less desirable attributes are ignored.

Bundling Bias

The bundling bias is a cognitive bias in e-commerce where a consumer tends not to use all of the products bought as a group, or bundle. Bundling occurs when individual products or services are sold together as a bundle. Common examples are tickets and experiences. The bundling bias dictates that consumers are less likely to use each item in the bundle. This means that the value of the bundle and indeed the value of each item in the bundle is decreased.

Barnum Effect

The Barnum Effect is a cognitive bias where individuals believe that generic information – which applies to most people – is specifically tailored for themselves.

Anchoring Effect

The anchoring effect describes the human tendency to rely on an initial piece of information (the “anchor”) to make subsequent judgments or decisions. Price anchoring, then, is the process of establishing a price point that customers can reference when making a buying decision.

Decoy Effect

The decoy effect is a psychological phenomenon where inferior – or decoy – options influence consumer preferences. Businesses use the decoy effect to nudge potential customers toward the desired target product. The decoy effect is staged by placing a competitor product and a decoy product, which is primarily used to nudge the customer toward the target product.

Commitment Bias

Commitment bias describes the tendency of an individual to remain committed to past behaviors – even if they result in undesirable outcomes. The bias is particularly pronounced when such behaviors are performed publicly. Commitment bias is also known as escalation of commitment.

First-Principles Thinking

First-principles thinking – sometimes called reasoning from first principles – is used to reverse-engineer complex problems and encourage creativity. It involves breaking down problems into basic elements and reassembling them from the ground up. Elon Musk is among the strongest proponents of this way of thinking.

Ladder Of Inference

The ladder of inference is a conscious or subconscious thinking process where an individual moves from a fact to a decision or action. The ladder of inference was created by academic Chris Argyris to illustrate how people form and then use mental models to make decisions.

Goodhart’s Law

Goodhart’s Law is named after British monetary policy theorist and economist Charles Goodhart. Speaking at a conference in Sydney in 1975, Goodhart said that “any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.” Goodhart’s Law states that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Six Thinking Hats Model

The Six Thinking Hats model was created by psychologist Edward de Bono in 1986, who noted that personality type was a key driver of how people approached problem-solving. For example, optimists view situations differently from pessimists. Analytical individuals may generate ideas that a more emotional person would not, and vice versa.

Mandela Effect

The Mandela effect is a phenomenon where a large group of people remembers an event differently from how it occurred. The Mandela effect was first described in relation to Fiona Broome, who believed that former South African President Nelson Mandela died in prison during the 1980s. While Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and died 23 years later, Broome remembered news coverage of his death in prison and even a speech from his widow. Of course, neither event occurred in reality. But Broome was later to discover that she was not the only one with the same recollection of events.

Crowding-Out Effect

The crowding-out effect occurs when public sector spending reduces spending in the private sector.

Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect tells us that the more a belief or idea has been adopted by more people within a group, the more the individual adoption of that idea might increase within the same group. This is the psychological effect that leads to herd mentality. What in marketing can be associated with social proof.

Moore’s Law

Moore’s law states that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles approximately every two years. This observation was made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 and it become a guiding principle for the semiconductor industry and has had far-reaching implications for technology as a whole.

Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation as a term was first described by Clayton M. Christensen, an American academic and business consultant whom The Economist called “the most influential management thinker of his time.” Disruptive innovation describes the process by which a product or service takes hold at the bottom of a market and eventually displaces established competitors, products, firms, or alliances.

Value Migration

Value migration was first described by author Adrian Slywotzky in his 1996 book Value Migration – How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition. Value migration is the transferal of value-creating forces from outdated business models to something better able to satisfy consumer demands.

Bye-Now Effect

The bye-now effect describes the tendency for consumers to think of the word “buy” when they read the word “bye”. In a study that tracked diners at a name-your-own-price restaurant, each diner was asked to read one of two phrases before ordering their meal. The first phrase, “so long”, resulted in diners paying an average of $32 per meal. But when diners recited the phrase “bye bye” before ordering, the average price per meal rose to $45.


Groupthink occurs when well-intentioned individuals make non-optimal or irrational decisions based on a belief that dissent is impossible or on a motivation to conform. Groupthink occurs when members of a group reach a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the alternatives and their consequences.


A stereotype is a fixed and over-generalized belief about a particular group or class of people. These beliefs are based on the false assumption that certain characteristics are common to every individual residing in that group. Many stereotypes have a long and sometimes controversial history and are a direct consequence of various political, social, or economic events. Stereotyping is the process of making assumptions about a person or group of people based on various attributes, including gender, race, religion, or physical traits.

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law states that if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Murphy’s Law was named after aerospace engineer Edward A. Murphy. During his time working at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949, Murphy cursed a technician who had improperly wired an electrical component and said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.”

Law of Unintended Consequences

The law of unintended consequences was first mentioned by British philosopher John Locke when writing to parliament about the unintended effects of interest rate rises. However, it was popularized in 1936 by American sociologist Robert K. Merton who looked at unexpected, unanticipated, and unintended consequences and their impact on society.

Fundamental Attribution Error

Fundamental attribution error is a bias people display when judging the behavior of others. The tendency is to over-emphasize personal characteristics and under-emphasize environmental and situational factors.

Outcome Bias

Outcome bias describes a tendency to evaluate a decision based on its outcome and not on the process by which the decision was reached. In other words, the quality of a decision is only determined once the outcome is known. Outcome bias occurs when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events without regard for how those events developed.

Hindsight Bias

Hindsight bias is the tendency for people to perceive past events as more predictable than they actually were. The result of a presidential election, for example, seems more obvious when the winner is announced. The same can also be said for the avid sports fan who predicted the correct outcome of a match regardless of whether their team won or lost. Hindsight bias, therefore, is the tendency for an individual to convince themselves that they accurately predicted an event before it happened.

Read Next: BiasesBounded RationalityMandela EffectDunning-Kruger EffectLindy EffectCrowding Out EffectBandwagon Effect.

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