Argument from omniscience

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An argument from omniscience (also allness, absolute thinking) occurs when somebody thinks they know literally everything or know everything about the subject at hand.[1] The fallacy is commonly expressed with words like "all", "everyone", "no one", "everything", "always", or "never".

The problem with such an argument is twofold: first, that an arguer would need omniscience to know about everyone's beliefs or about everything in existence, and second, because the arguer does not have omniscience, they are often wrong and counterexamples to the generalization exist.

The argument is an informal fallacy and is theoretically the opposite of an argument from ignorance; however, because it relies on things that the speaker cannot know, it functions as an argument from ignorance and fails for the same reasons.

Examples[edit]

An important example is that of overprecision.

  • Everyone knows that.[2]
  • All people believe in something.[2]
  • All students love studying.[3]

In all three examples, there may be people who don't -- and unless the arguer can prove that no such people exist, then their argument is flawed.

References[edit]