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I am interested in the situation where two parties (people or organisations) differ in their commitment to exert power where party has more commitment to exert power than the other. The two parties have a dispute on some matter. The strong party builds an argument upon an erroneous point and with great rigour proceeds with some logical conclusions. The strong party is gladly involved in philosophical dispute concerning the validity of all links, but first. The initial point is sold as an axiom.

My question is twofold:

  1. does this situation have name?
  2. What is the best strategy to deal with this situation for a weak party?
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  • $\begingroup$ @Jeromy Anglim Thank you very much for your edits that make the question more abstract and more general. Details that I used as examples were indeed not relevant. $\endgroup$
    – Rama
    Apr 7 '15 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ I can't think of a name for the situation, but you're describing a valid yet unsound argument. The conclusion necessarily follows from the premises, but (at least) one of the premises is false. About the best suggestion I would make for the weaker party is to do the best they can to point out the factual error. Provide other examples to show how something absurd could flow from a valid argument based on flawed premises. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisDevo
    Apr 7 '15 at 14:59
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A partial solution:

As for the logical fallacy (unrelated to "strong" and "weak" parties), you seem to be describing a "Fallacy of Presumption," where one makes an argument based off of a false/questionable/undefended presumption. There are several more specific cases of this type of fallacy. A website that describes a few is listed below (found via a Google search).

http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e06b.htm

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  • $\begingroup$ The fallacies of presumption you've linked to are not the same thing as a valid argument with false premises, which is what @Ramanujan Nagell seems to be describing: "The strong party builds an argument upon an erroneous point and with great rigour proceeds with some logical conclusions." This is not the same thing as when, "the erroneous reasoning results from an implicit supposition of some further proposition whose truth is uncertain or implausible." There is no mention of implicit premises in the original question. The premises are made explicit, they're just false. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisDevo
    Apr 8 '15 at 8:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisDevo Thank you for your feedback. Reading: "The strong party builds an argument upon an erroneous point and with great rigour proceeds with some logical conclusions. The strong party is gladly involved in philosophical dispute concerning the validity of all links, but [the] first." I see no mention of premises being made implicit or explicit. If the arguments are strong due to the premise, the situation sounds rather like the "Begging the Question" fallacy which, though traditionally used with an implicit premise, does not need it to be implicit $\endgroup$
    – mflo-ByeSE
    Apr 8 '15 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ The argument isn't strong due to the premise. Valid arguments are strong regardless of the truth of their premises. That's what defines them as valid. Begging the question involves sneaking the desired conclusion in as a premise (implicit or otherwise). Deriving a logical conclusion from a flawed premise is not the same as deriving a conclusion that is the same as (or a restatement of) a premise. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisDevo
    Apr 8 '15 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisDevo Thanks once more for your comments. In my experience, the use of an undefended premise to make logical conclusions that are in dispute involve some degree of assuming the solution in the premise (otherwise, why that undefended premise?). Again, this is inference based off of sparse details, but hopefully points the asker in a helpful direction. $\endgroup$
    – mflo-ByeSE
    Apr 8 '15 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ I've digressed: the website provided was not intended to be the authoritative definition of "Fallacy of Presumption", merely a resource to offer some practical examples to the asker. Several other sources for the definition exclude the word "implicit" you seem to have taken issue with. This word often appears as, once revealed that the initial assumption is incorrect, the argument falls apart (thus the party attempts to hide the weak supposition). It seems that, due to the strength differential in the asker's situation, such subterfuge is not viewed as necessary; but the fallacy remains. $\endgroup$
    – mflo-ByeSE
    Apr 8 '15 at 16:45

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