The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

What are you really asking?

Time for another logical fallacy, this time one commonly felt but not always understood.

Plurium interrogationum

"Many questions" or "complex question" means that a sentence appears to contain a single question but really rests on implicit assumptions that may obviate it. Put more simply, someone asks you a question that assumes something else as if you've already agreed to it.

The classic example, "when did you stop beating your wife?", contains two distinct parts requiring two distinct answers. First, "Have you ever beaten your wife?" Second, "If so, when did you stop?"

This fallacy comes in half a dozen flavors, which goes beyond the scope of The Daily Parker, as my goal is simply to summarize and list them. The Philosophy Department at South Carolina's Lander University has an excellent description of all the permutations of plurium interrogationum.

Add comment

Loading