FALLACIES OF PRESUMPTIONS BA HONS PHILOSOPHY
The fallacy of presumption is committed when unnecessary or dogmatic presumptions are made before making an argument.
THERE ARE TWO FALLACIES OF PRESUMPTION
- BEGGING THE QUESTION
COMPLEX QUESTION BEGGING THE QUESTION [PETITIO PRINCIPII] The fallacy occurs when the conclusion or a part of conclusion is stated in the premise either explictly or in a slightly different form. The fallacy of petitio principii is also called ‘REASONING IN CIRCLE OR CIRCULAR ARGUMENT because what we want to prove is already stated in our evidence. If the conclusion is already stated in the premise then the reasoning becomes trival and superflous. Though the fallacy is not committed deliberately but the eagerness to prove the conclusion is so strong that one unconciously assumes what one wants to prove as conclusion. In the fallacy of petitio principii the premisses are not irrelevant to the conclusion but they are useless. If we assume what requires proof then we are just beggars begging what we ought to earn by proof. FOR EX: Capital punishment is inhuman as it creates fear. It creates fear because it is inhuman. A student complaints to the teacher: This problem is wrong. Its wrong because there is a mistake in it. There is a mistake in it because it is incorrect and it is incorrect because it is wrong. COMPLEX QUESTIONS
The fallacy occurs when a question is asked in such a manner as to assume or presuppose the truth of some facts hidden in it.
In the fallacy of complex question a single question is asked but two or three questions are wrapped in it. FOR EXAMPLE in the question ‘ HAVE YOU GIVEN UP THE HABIT OF TAKING DRUGS’ ?
TWO QUESTIONS ARE MIXED UP HERE FIRST , DID YOU EVER HAVE THE HABIT OF TAKING DRUGS? SECOND HAVE YOU GIVEN IT UP NOW?
This is why the fallacy of complex question also called the fallacy of ‘ MANY QUESTIONS’
Complex questions cannot be answered by plain yes or no because they include something which cannot be answered by yes or no . But who asked such questions insist on a simple answer of yes or no.
When the question is complex is the best way to avoid the fallacy of is to refute all the presuppositions hidden in the question one by one. Complex question is favorite devise of lawyers who wish to confuse a witness or defendant .
To a question which appears to be simple but actually implies many questions , a straight answer will lead to a position which actually the replier does not hold.
EXAMPLES OF COMPLEX QUESTION
ARE YOU STILL NEGLECTING YOUR WORK?
HAVE YOU EVER DECIDED TO CONTINUE WITH THIS COURSE?
A TEACHER ASKED THE STUDENT HAVE YOU STOPPED CUT AND PASTE WHILE SUBMITTING HOME ASSIGNMENTS?