[F05] Inappropriate presumption



Module: Fallacies and biases


Quote of the page

The fact is that if you have not developed language, you simply don't have access to most of human experience, and if you don't have access to experience, then you're not going to be able to think properly.

- Noam Chomsky


Help us promote
critical thinking!

Popular pages

  1. What is critical thinking?
  2. What is logic?
  3. Hardest logic puzzle ever
  4. Free miniguide
  5. What is an argument?
  6. Knights and knaves puzzles
  7. Logic puzzles
  8. What is a good argument?
  9. Improving critical thinking
  10. Analogical arguments

Fallacies of inappropriate presumption are cases where we have explicitly or implicitly made an assumption that is not reasonable to accept in the relevant context. Some examples:

  • Many people like to ask whether human nature is good or evil. This presupposes that there is such a thing as human nature and that it must be either good or bad. But why should these assumptions be accepted and are they the only options available? What if human nature is neither good nor bad? Or what if good or bad nature applies only to individual human beings?
  • Consider the question "Have you stopped being an idiot?" Whether you answer "yes" or "no", you admit that you are, or have been, an idiot. Presumably you do not want to make any such admission. We can point out that this question has a false assumption.
  • "Same-sex marriage should not be allowed because by definition a marriage should be between a man and a woman." This argument assumes that only a heterosexual conception of marriage is correct. But this begs the question against those who defend same-sex marriages and is not an appropriate assumption to make when debating this issue.
previous tutorial next tutorial

homepagetopcontactsitemap

© 2004-2021 Joe Lau & Jonathan Chan