In response to a question about whether adopting a common fiat currency among multiple nations in the 1700s would cause inflation, an answer claimed that it happens all the time [today] and nothing happens.

In other words, the respondant is citing the consequence of a modern action or behavior to explain what he/she believes would be the consequence of the same or a similar action or behavior in the past.

My reaction was to believe the response was poorly researched, assumed facts not in evidence, what intrinsically false, etc., etc., etc....

And then my brain locked up because it wanted to describe the intrinsically false nature of the argument with a single word — but couldn't come up with one.

Is there one?

  • I tried "disingenuous," but that's almost an upside-down-and-backwards way of looking at it.

  • I tried fallacious, and it's close (and might be the appropriate word).

  • Obviously the phrase, "that's a bad assumption" would work, but I'm hoping there's a single word.

As an example sentence, my comment to the above respondant would be, "your statement is ___________."

  • There is no such word. The past has already happened. Do you mean the future? Or are you talking about a past that we can't confirm or have knowledge about? Or are you possibly talking about a nonexistent, hypothetical past? (In which case it's pure speculation and has nothing to do with false assumptions or fallacious statements.) Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 5:59
  • Google black swan -- you may come across some interesting things.
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 9:20
  • @JasonBassford, I'm talking about the literal past. The word I'm looking for describes the fallacy that the literal past can be rationalized, justified, or explained based on behaviors today. A negative example would be the claim that people hundreds of years ago should have been able to overcome gender preference bias simply because we figured out how to do it today (which ignores the mountain of experience, science, etc. we climbed that allowed us to overcome the bias).
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 14:19
  • @Kris, I'm assuming you mean the book by Taleb and not the movie starring Natalie Portman.
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 14:24
  • @JBH Okay, I was pretty sure you were talking about the actual past. But the actual past is about facts. People either did or didn't do something. Ascribing beliefs is speculation. Even ascribing beliefs to people today is speculation and may be wrong. (She left work early because she felt X. No, according to her, she felt Y.) If anything, it's simply a statement that's based on a false premise. False premises are not fallacious arguments, nor are people who make them disingenuous. Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


The statement is anachronistic

anachronism: The action of attributing something to a period to which it does not belong.

Anachronism is more often used to describe something that belongs in the past, but it is just as valid as a description of something from the future.

There is, apparently, a more specific term for futuristic anachronism: presentism

In literary and historical analysis, presentism is the anachronistic introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they consider it a form of cultural bias, and believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter.[1] The practice of presentism is regarded by some as a common fallacy in historical writing.

That sounds like exactly what you've described. But I've never seen that word in the wild.


As clarified by comments under the question, what's being considered is an example of hasty generalization.

Logically Fallacious describes it in the following way:

Drawing a conclusion based on a small sample size, rather than looking at statistics that are much more in line with the typical or average situation.

The website provides some examples.

Example #1:

      My father smoked four packs of cigarettes a day since
      age fourteen and lived until age sixty-nine. Therefore,
      smoking really can’t be that bad for you.

Explanation: It is extremely unreasonable (and dangerous) to draw a universal conclusion about the health risks of smoking by the case study of one man.

Example #2:

      Four out of five dentists recommend Happy Glossy
      Smiley toothpaste brand. Therefore, it must be great.

Explanation: It turns out that only five dentists were actually asked. When a random sampling of 1000 dentists was polled, only 20% actually recommended the brand. The four out of five result was not necessarily a biased sample or a dishonest survey; it just happened to be a statistical anomaly common among small samples.

But note that hasty generalizations can apply equally to the present (and future) as much as they can to the past. Also, there is no single word for somebody who is frequently guilty of specifically making hasty generalizations.


I suggest

"your statement is naive."


"your statement is ingenuous." (not disingenuous)

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