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Postulate What Has To Be Proved

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Postulate What Has To Be Proved

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Another plan is to beg the question in disguise by postulating what has to be proved, either (1) under another name; for instance, "good repute" instead of "honour"; "virtue" instead of "virginity," etc.; or by using such convertible terms as "red-blooded animals" and "vertebrates"; or (2) by making a general assumption covering the particular point in dispute; for instance, maintaining the uncertainty of medicine by postulating the uncertainty of all human knowledge. (3) If, vice versa, two things follow one from the other, and one is to be proved, you may postulate the other. (4) If a general proposition is to be proved, you may get your opponent to admit every one of the particulars. This is the converse of the second.

Example

 You may say it will not work but I say it is a good thing to do. Just as night follows day, social order follows strict policing, and so that cannot be at all bad. Sure - I could be wrong, but nothing is every certain and all I do know is that this is as right and good as we can be.

Discussion

The basic principle of begging the question is a circular argument, where there is no fundamental truth on which others arguments are based.

When there is no foundation, the speaker is often forced into concealment of some kind, for example by reframing one thing to mean another or challenging and redefining individual words.

Postulate What Has To Be Proved is the sixth of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Begging the Question, Generalization, Reframing, Assumption principle

 

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