The complex question fallacy is committed when a question is asked (a) that rests on a questionable assumption, and (b) to which all answers appear to endorse that assumption.

Examples

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

This is a complex question because it presupposes that you used to beat your wife, a presupposition that either answer to the question appears to endorse.

“Are you going to admit that you’re wrong?”

Answering yes to this question is an admission of guilt. Answering no to the question implies that the accused accepts that he is in the wrong, but will not admit it. No room is left to protest one’s innocence. This is therefore a complex question, and a subtlefalse dilemma.

Leave a Reply