Is there a term for incorrectly distinguishing something to be not part of a common category of items, saying a sub-group is too unique to be considered to be part of the larger category, even though almost all of the facts presented are true of the larger group?

E.g. To someone who says "A Sanguinelli is not an orange; it is too sweet, has seeds, has an orange rind, & the red inside proves it is not an orange." (even though you dispute it is a type of 'blood orange' is conducting a ___.

A term for a person who does this can also work.

I could not find it in a list of fallacies, so I created some terms that estimate what I am trying to express:

  • False Un-Equivalence
  • Incorrect Anti-Generalization
  • 1
    Except for the speciation, a blood orange isn't an orange. That seems like an overwhelming exception fallacy. There should be scientific terms for types of miscategorization. It's a Brontosaurs. No, an Apatosaurus. No, a Brontosaurus... Good luck with your search, and welcome to ELU.
    – KannE
    Mar 30 '20 at 0:56
  • 1
    Please edit your question to include a sample sentence with a blank where the word you want should go. It's not clear whether you want a word for the act itself or for the person who did it.
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 30 '20 at 2:52
  • 1
    Your sample sentence reads like a dictionary definition. We need an example that shows how you want to use it in a natural sentence. E.g. "John ____ when he said a Sanguinelli is not an orange." (verb) , "John did a ____ when he said a Sanguinelli is not an orange." (noun), "John made a ____ argument when he said a Sanguinelli is not an orange." (adjective), "John has proven himself to be a ____ because he said a Sanguinelli is not an orange." (noun), etc.
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 31 '20 at 2:00

I'd say that class of error is a "category error".

  • 1
    Is this an accepted term, or just an obvious two-word construct (a 'free combination' you've come up with? ELU vastly prefers answers accompanied by supporting references, linked and attributed. I'd thought of 'classification error', but the way this is normally used now is different from that involving the looser definition I was used to 30 years ago. Mar 30 '20 at 11:43
  • @edwin-ashworth seems correct; unfortunately - Widipedia: "error in which things belonging to a particular category are presented as if they belong to a different category" ~ does match - Rational WiKi "speaker (knowingly or not) confuses the properties of the whole with the properties of a part" ~ opposite of what I want :/ But we're getting closer; thanks!
    – tomByrer
    Mar 30 '20 at 13:31
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    Not sure I agree with the "whole and part" bit - I'd call that a mereological error. If it's narrowly about taxonomy, perhaps just the simple: "error in taxonomy" or "taxonomical error"
    – JKim
    Apr 1 '20 at 7:17
  • To my mind an example of a category error would be if someone said that people cause air pollution in cities, and someone replies "You're wrong - cars, not people, cause pollution". The category of the ultimate cause (people) is being confused with the category or the immediate cause (cars) resulting in a non-sequitur. .
    – Nemo
    Aug 23 at 8:59

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