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Two wrongs make a right: Wikis

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Two wrongs make a right is a logical fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that if one wrong is committed, another wrong will cancel it out. Like many fallacies, it typically appears as the hidden major premise in an enthymeme—an unstated assumption which must be true for the premises to lead to the conclusion. This is an example of an informal fallacy.

It is often used as a red herring, or an attempt to change or distract from the issue. For example:

  • Speaker A: President Williams lied in his testimony to Congress. He should not do that.
  • Speaker B: But you are ignoring the fact that President Roberts lied in his Congressional testimony!

If President Roberts lied in his Congressional testimony, that does not make it acceptable for President Williams to do so as well. (At best, it means Williams is no worse than Roberts.) The tu quoque fallacy is a specific type of "two wrongs make a right". Accusing another person of not practicing what they preach, while appropriate in some situations, does not in itself invalidate an action or statement that is perceived as contradictory.

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