Also Known as: Peer Pressure.
The Bandwagon is a fallacy in which a threat of rejection by one's peers (or
peer pressure) is substituted for evidence in an "argument." This line of
"reasoning" has the following form:
Person P is pressured by his/her peers or threatened with rejection.
Therefore person P's claim X is false.
This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because peer pressure and threat of rejection do not constitute evidence for rejecting a claim. This is especially clear in the following example:
Joe: "Bill, I know you think that 1+1=2. But we don't accept that sort of
thing in our group. "
Bill: "I was just joking. Of course I don't believe that."
It is clear that the pressure from Bill's group has no bearing on the truth of the claim that 1+1=2.
It should be noted that loyalty to a group and the need to belong can give
people very strong reasons to conform to the views and positions of those
groups. Further, from a practical standpoint we must often compromise our
beliefs in order to belong to groups. However, this feeling of loyalty or the
need to belong simply do not constitute evidence for a claim.
Bill says that he likes the idea that people should work for their welfare when they can. His friends laugh at him, accuse him of fascist leanings, and threaten to ostracize him from their group. He decides to recant and abandon his position to avoid rejection.Bill: "I like classical music and I think it is of higher quality than most modern music."