- "There exists a major problem about American slavery, one on which a reader of even the best American historians on slavery will not be enightened: indeed, if he limits his reading to historians he will hardly know that a problem exists. Why was American slavery the most awful the world has ever known?" (Glazer in Elkins, Slavery, p. ix.) This is an example of an implicit assumption, or of begging a question, namely: Was American slavery the most awful?
- Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms?
- From a list of questions from Don Fehrenbacher "especially worth asking and answering": 1) Could Lincoln have succeeded where Johnson failed. 2) What part did terrorism play in the ultimate triumph of the Southern 'redeemers'? 3) When did racial segregation harden into its elaborate mold? 4) What were the primary motives of the radical Republicans? (cited in, Fischer, Historians' Fallacies, p. 9.)
- "Complex questions are often used to encourage clients to comply with a request, as in the example of a staff member who is having touble getting a patient to take a bath. Rather than asking him if he want to take a bath tonight, she might say, 'Do you want to take a bath now or at seven?' Another variation of complex questions is requesting explanations for supposed facts that have not been supported, as in 'How do you account for extrasensory perception (ESP'? Since there is controversy about whether ESP exists, and many people believe that research exploring such phenomena has yielded negative results, there may be no extraordinary effects to explain, perhaps just fallacies or questionable experimental designs to be uncovered." (Gambrill, Critical Thinking in Clinical Practice, p. 154.)
- "Is Facebook unethical, clueless or unlucky?" (Calacanis, Calacanis.com, Dec. 13, 2009.)
Identify the two propositions illegitimately conjoined and show that believing one does not mean that you have to believe the other.
"Its questionable status as an argument is suggested by the very label assigned to it. Questions are not declarative statements that can be judged true or false and accepted or rejected. Questions require a different kind of response than statements. For this reason, few theorists are inclined to include 'Complex Question' in any stable of fallacies. The variant of this problem, Many Questions, was the last fallacy in Aristotle's list, but even on Aristotle's treatment, the fallacy label seems inaccurate. A Complex Question is not a straightforward one: it contains an assumption that is hidden but that must be implicitly or explicitly acknowledged if the respondent is to answer the question. Invariably, such an acknowledgement commits the respondent to a position or claim with which she is at least uncomfortable, and to which she may be adamantly opposed. Since it contains such an assumption, a Complex Question can be unpacked to reveal two or more statements and thus could be revealed to have the structure of simple argument. ... Whether or not we take Complex Question as a fallacy, it introduces us to the problem of unacceptable assumptions that can be hidden by statements or questions. Complex Questions are the problems they are because they cannot be answered without the respondent's being committed in some way to the assumptions contained in them. Even questions that require just a yes/no response like the old saw 'Have you stopped beating your dog (or robbing banks, or engaging in public nudity)?' presuppose that the respondent has been beating his dog, and so on. Some examples will involve assumptions that, once drawn out, constitute full arguments." (Tindale, Fallacies and Argument Appraisal, pp. 69,71.)
"To ban all complex questions from reasonable dialogue as general policy would seem to be an extremely dubious proposal. To forbid altogether the asking of conjunctive, disjunctive, or conditional question would be to impoverish an arguer's ability to ask many kinds of important and legitimate questions. Such and impoverishment would surely have to be balanced by a strong argument for believing that semantically complex question are inherently misleading or fallacious. But this approach seems misdirected, for semantically complex questions seem to be fallacious only when several other factors combine to make them problematic..." (Walton, Informal Logic, p. 34.)
"So the important thing is to distinguish carefully between loaded questions and questions like the spouse-beating question that are more than just loaded, but could be said to be force-loaded because an answerer must become committed to the unwelcome presupposition(s) no matter which answer he gives, of all the possible direct answers." (Meyer, Questions and Questioning, p. 218.)