A fallacy of presumption is any argument that is based on at least one faulty or unprovable assumption in the context of the argument. In this article, we will explore what are fallacies of presumption.
Argument By Assertion
This logical fallacy occurs when a person attempts to support a claim by merely asserting that it is true, despite contradiction. An assertion, or even a genuine argument, neither proves nor disproves anything. You can only make a statement if you are willing to back it up with evidence. It may be the result of brainwashing, having one’s belief based on blind faith, or not knowing what makes a good argument if one is incapable of offering anything other than an argument by assertion. Many times, people who argue through assertion believe that their position is completely fair. They might simply be unaware of the areas in which their arguments fall short.
Example: ‘Abortion is just wrong.’
This a question with an implicit presupposition that protects the person asking the question from accusations of making false claims. It is a type of deceptive discourse, and it is a fallacy when the audience fails to recognize the assumed information implicit in the question and accepts it as fact.
These questions are committed when two (or more) questions are posed as one and are then given the same response. Every complex question assumes the fulfillment of a particular circumstance. The complex question is supplemented by the respondent’s response and results in an argument establishing the presumptive condition. Usually, the goal of this argument is to force the respondent to admit something that they might otherwise not want to.
Example: ‘Have you stopped beating your children?’
Begging the question
The fallacy of begging the question happens when the premises of an argument assume the validity of the conclusion rather than providing evidence for it. In other words, you assume the position or a substantial portion of the position without supporting evidence. Arguing in a circle is another name for begging the question.
A person who begs the question is guilty of presuming what their argument is supposed to prove. In other words, they hid a portion of their argument’s conclusion within its premises. In other words, they aren’t arguing for what they say they are. This is an illustration of a fallacy that appears to be valid reasoning. The issue here is that, as someone who employs this method of argumentation does, we cannot simply assume that the conclusion is correct.
Example: ‘Everyone wants the new iPhone because it is the coolest and latest gadget in the market.’
Appeal To Ignorance
This fallacy happens when you make an argument for or against something despite the lack of evidence to the contrary. In other words, it is on the false premise that a lack of evidence disproves a claim. When someone argues that a claim must be true if it is not false yet, or false if it is not true, they are engaging in illogical reasoning.
The primary premise of the argument is ignorance or the absence of contradictory evidence. Depending on whether the argument is positive or negative, there are two logical forms for it. A conclusion must be true according to the affirmative claim because there is no evidence to the contrary, and a conclusion must be false according to the negative claim because there is no evidence to the contrary.
Example: ‘Maria couldn’t prove her innocence, so she must be guilty.’
A false dichotomy, also known as a false dilemma or a bifurcation fallacy, is when there are only two options presented when there is at least one other logically viable choice. The presumption is a fallacy that results from not considering other possibilities.
The assumption that the alternatives listed are the only ones available underlies the entire argument in this case, which is sometimes difficult to see. If that were the case, the argument would be valid, but often, other options are simply not brought up. Due to this, the situation in which a decision must be made between two options is false.
Example: ‘George criticized capitalism, he must be a socialist.’
A hasty generalization is a fallacy where the conclusion reached is not supported logically by adequate or objective evidence. Insufficient sample, converse accident, biased generalization, jumping to conclusions, Secundum quid, and neglect of qualifications are other names for it.
A hasty generalization-based argument always moves from the specific to the broad. A small sample is used and attempted to extrapolate a conclusion from it and apply it to a larger population.
Example: ‘Sara had a negligent father growing up, so she doesn’t trust any men.’
In a slippery slope argument, one rejects a course of action without much or any supporting evidence insisting that it will lead to a chain reaction of undesirable outcomes. This line of thinking circumvents the current issue and focuses on extreme scenarios.
This fallacy takes the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by using fear because there is no evidence provided to support the assertion that such scenarios will occur. In reality, unsupported conjecture unfairly taints the discussion at hand.
Example: ‘If we legalize same-sex marriages then people would want to marry animals eventually.’
It is the perceived connection between two things that doesn’t necessarily imply that one is the cause of the other. This is a mistaken assumption because correlation doesn’t always imply causation.
Humans are very adept at identifying patterns in the environment. This skill is the foundation of science; observing patterns and then offering explanations for them. Establishing a causal connection between two events is a convincing explanation that seems to be connected predictably. Humans also tend to overdo this, so they need to exercise caution. Until you realize that the mere fact that one thing tends to occur before another does not prove that the first thing caused the second to occur, this may seem like a convincing argument.
Example: ‘It rains right after I wash my car.’
A circular argument, also known as circular reasoning, is when someone uses the conclusion as proof that the premises supporting the conclusion are true. This is a form of logical fallacy.
The fallacy of begging the question is closely related to it, and the two operate practically in the same way. The latter, though, is thought of as a more particular variety of the former.
Circular reasoning employs its conclusion as a stated or unstated premise. Instead of providing proof, it simply asserts the conclusion in a different form, inviting the listener to accept it as settled when, in fact, it has not. A circular argument violates the acceptability criterion because the premise is the same as, and thus as questionable as, the conclusion.
Example: ‘Matt is guilty because you can see the guilt on his face. And since, guilt is visible on his face, Matt must be guilty of the crime.’
The Ending Note
What are the fallacies of presumption? Fallacies of presumption fail to provide sufficient evidence for accepting the truthfulness of their argument, so learning about them will enable you to recognize such fallacies in others’ arguments. It also encourages you to conduct extensive research to find concrete evidence before putting forth an argument.