3.4 Fallacies of Presumption and Ambiguity
Fallacies of Presupposition: "premises presume what they purport to prove"
Begging the question: A. "premise of an argument merely restates the conclusion in slightly different language" "circular reasoning in a chain of inferences" B. requires a question to be “re-asked” because answer is begged. Example: "Cops? Yeah, I don't like them. They're the ones who arrest people." Since cops do arrest people, the question remains--why don't you like them arresting people? Complex question: two or more questions are being asked and a single answer is prompted by the questioner. correct response: "resolve complex question into its component questions answer each separately" Leading questions are different as they suggest the answer within the question that is being asked. tricks respondent into admitting something that he/she did not want to. False Dichotomy: presents two alternatives as if they were jointly exhaustive and the only two possible alternatives in existence Again, the argument is valid, but unsound. Review disjunctive syllogism.
Suppressed Evidence: Ignoring an important piece of evidence that would entail acceptance of a different conclusion. Quoting passages out of context from religious, political, legal documents that "support a conclusion the passage was not intended to support." If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Note the difference between begging the question and suppressed evidence. Equivocation: "word or phrase is used (for us) explicitly in two different sense in the argument." Techniques to confuse the listener: use "equivocal word in ways that are subtly related." "spread the shift in meaning over the course of an argument." This is a popular political favorite for rhetoric/propaganda. Use the word two different ways to two different audiences. Amphiboly: sentence is syntactically or symatically ambiguous and is interpreted in the wrong way. There are two meanings for the sentence and the listener usually misinterprets. Note difference between amphiboly and equivocation. Composition: attributes are transferred from the parts to the whole and the transfer is inappropriate. Note that some transfers are appropriate and these are legitimate non-fallacies. You must have "general knowledge of a situation" in order to recognize some fallacies of composition. Since everything here is judged in context, you have to be familiar with the context to be a competent judge. (Mill’s utilitarianism) Revisit hasty generalization so as not to confuse. Division: transferring an attribute from the whole to the parts erroneously.