Trivial objections (also referred to as hair-splitting, nothing but objections, barrage of objections and banal objections) is an informal logical fallacy where irrelevant and sometimes frivolous objections are made to divert the attention away from the topic that is being discussed. This type of argument is called a "quibble" or "quillet". Trivial objections are a special case of red herring.
The fallacy often appears when an argument is difficult to oppose. The person making a trivial objection may appear ready to accept the argument in question, but at the same time they will oppose it in many different ways.:165 These objections can appear in the form of lists, hypotheticals, and even accusations.
Such objections themselves may be valid, but they fail to confront the main argument under consideration. Instead, the objection opposes a small, irrelevant part of the main argument. The fallacy is committed because of this diversion; it is fallacious to oppose a point on the basis of minor and incidental aspects, rather than responding to the main claim.
There follows an example:
- Tom is using a barrage of objections:
- Amy: Tomatoes are fruit, not vegetable.
- Tom: Tomatoes can't be fruit. They don't grow on trees.
- Amy: But pineapples also don't grow on trees and are fruit.
- Tom: Tomatoes still can't be fruit. They are used in salads.
- Amy: Apples are also used in salads and are fruit.
- Tom: Tomatoes still can't be fruit. They are of botanical order Solanales.
- Pirie, Madsen (12 Mar 2015). How to Win Every Argument. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781472526977.
- Madsen Pirie (November 1985). The book of the fallacy: a training manual for intellectual subversives. Routledge & K. Paul. p. 164. ISBN 9780710205216.
- T. Edward Damer (21 February 2008). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments. Cengage Learning. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-495-09506-4.
- Alex C. Michalos (1986). Improving Your Reasoning. Prentice Hall PTR. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-13-453465-7.