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philosophy - 9 11 2002 - 13:42 - katatonik

The Volvo Fallacy

“The Volvo Fallacy occurs when the vividness of a recent memory, or the strikingness of an unusual event, leads one to overestimate the probability of events of that type occurring, especially if one has access to better evidence of the frequency of such events.

The so-called “Volvo fallacy” gets its (bad) name from anecdotes like the following:

“I’ve heard that Volvo is a brand of automobile with a reputation for safety. However, my neighbor is in the hospital after having a wreck in his brand-new Volvo. You won’t see me buying a Volvo! They’re pieces of junk!”

This is an example of the fallacy, since the speaker is allowing the vividness in his mind of his neighbor’s recent misfortune to override what he knows about Volvos in general.”

Source, brought to you courtesy of the Fallacy Files.

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