"Why didn't you compete in the annual sports event? It was because you knew that you'd lose anyway!"

Or, "How did he run that fast? he must've taken steroids"

It falls under unwarranted assumption, but what is it specifically?

  • 5
    Why a fallacy ? It is not an argument. Dec 19, 2018 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


According to Douglas Walton a fallacy is described as the following: (page 270-1)

...a fallacy is a sequence of argumentation used in a context of dialogue (of which there may be many types) as a tactic of deception to trick a speech partner in an exchange, or as an underlying systematic, and serious type of error reasoning. Note that a fallacy, according to this conception, is not just any error, weak argument, or violation of a rule of dialogue, but a particularly serious and systematic type of error or sophistical tactic of an identifiable kind, used in argumentation to obstruct a goal of dialogue, or interfere with its realization.

Answering one's own question does not seem to involve a systematic type of error or a sophistical tactic. It is unlikely that it would be a fallacy by itself, but it may involve unkindness as the example suggesting that one did not participate in a sports event was because one knew one would lose.

Bo Bennett describes what he calls a pseudo-logical fallacy that may be related to answering one's own question:

Argument by Rhetorical Question: Setting up questions in such a way to get the answers you want. This is a name for an argumentation strategy covered by both the loaded question and leading question fallacies.

Bennett, B. "Pseudo-Logical Fallacies" https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/6/Pseudo-Logical-Fallacies

Walton, D. (2010). Arguments from ignorance. Penn State Press.

  • It is setting up a false premise, while tricking the audience into thinking that the opponent agrees with it. "Why do you think we haven't gone to the Moon in years? there must be something they're hiding! We have already seen [some indecisive information presented as proof]....." As far as I know, a logical fallacy is simply an error in reasoning. It isn't always deceptive, especially the unintentional ones. The definition you've provided says itself that it is derived from a particular conception of the idea.
    – TheAnanyo
    Dec 19, 2018 at 10:31
  • @TheAnanyo I've added a possible candidate. I can see how answering one's own question may involve deception in the right context. if it does then it may meet Walton's definition of a fallacy. Dec 19, 2018 at 10:34
  • I was looking for something on this topic by Bo Bennett, but it didn't come up on a search as it doesn't have a page of its own. Thanks!
    – TheAnanyo
    Dec 19, 2018 at 10:44
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    'A rhetorical question in itself isn't fallacious- but when it is used in such a way that makes one's opinion seem to be agreed upon by both parties, and uses that opinion as a factual premise of an argument, it is a fallacy.' But nothing in your Q requires or even suggests that the rhetorical question 'makes one's opinion seem to be agreed upon by both parties'. Nor do you show how making things seem that way is using 'that opinion as a factual premise of an argument'. What argument ? There is none.
    – Geoffrey Thomas
    Dec 19, 2018 at 14:48
  • 1
    @GeoffreyThomas I agree. More context is needed for these examples to be fallacious. Even Bennett only calls this a "pseudo-logical fallacy". Dec 19, 2018 at 18:07

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