Fallacies of Presumption

Fallacies of presumption occur when an argument has premises that presume what they support to be true. A false dichotomy occurs when a premise give two improbable alternatives but passes them off as the only alternatives available. For example, the argument ‘Either you do your homework now or you’ll procrastinate and never get it done. Therefore, you should do your homework now so you won’t get a bad grade.” This is a presumption (its assuming that by not doing one’s homework right now, the person will inevitably never get it done). Fallacies of ambiguities are arguments with ambiguous premises or conclusions (hence the word ‘ambiguity’). For example, the argument ‘Japan is called the land of the rising sun. Therefore, the land of Japan must belong to the rising sun.” This is an example of an equivocation, because the argument has misinterpreted a symbol (land of the rising sun), for something physical. The rising sun does not own any land, but the phrase ‘land of the rising sun’ implies that the land of Japan is an extension, or a part of, the actual rising sun. Fallacies of illicit transference is an argument that transfers an attribute from the parts to the whole or from the whole to the parts. For example, the argument ‘My skin is tan, therefore the atoms in my body must also be tan’ is an example of division fallacy. I am taking one attribute of the whole (my skin color) and applying it to the parts (the atoms) that make up my skin.

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