From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Presupposition could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

Cogito ergo sum
Logic and rhetoric
Icon logic.svg
Key articles
General logic
Bad logic

Presupposition is not directly related to Presuppositionalism, which is a religious belief, although presuppositionalist beliefs are certainly full of presupposition.

A presupposition is a linguistic term for an implicit assumption in a phrase, usually a claim or a question.

Presuppositions can be used in a fallacious manner by playing on these assumptions, e.g., by asking a loaded yes-or-no question that will implicate the speaker in something disagreeable no matter which way he answers.

The appropriate answer to a question based upon a false presupposition is "mu".[1]


  • Phrase: "Have you stopped beating your wife?"
  • Presupposition: 1) You, at some point, have at least one wife. 2) At some point you have beaten your wife (regardless whether that is the same wife as the first presupposition).
  • Phrase: "I have quit smoking."
  • Presupposition: I used to smoke.

And from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.

"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

No direct relation to[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. See the Wikipedia article on Mu (negative).