Inappropriate assumptions

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
False assumptions
Untested assumptions
Flawed assumptions
Basic presuppositions
Outdated assumptions

Reliance on false or old assumptions about the world can be as misinformative as dependence on false or old data. It can lead to drastic errors in forecasting.


The announcement by Iraq, in 1991, that it had secretly used an antiquated, old-tech method of uranium enrichment to produce weapons-grade uranium, overturned in one stroke the decades of assumptions about which procedures and materials need to be safeguarded. The electromagnetic enrichment method used by the Iraqis is openly described in scientific literature but it had been assumed that this information did not need to be covered by the secrecy and controls related to nuclear safeguards.

Critics of the UK's welfare system claim it is based on assumptions about human behaviour. They say the system was developed by those who assumed that people would behave altruistically; subsequent changes to the system were developed by those who assumed people would behave selfishly. Neither assumption being entirely and always accurate, the system is doomed to fail.


In this era of dramatic social change, some say that any presupposition that one has not tested limits one's existence. One must be ceaselessly questioning and searching. This is because so many of the assumptions we have received from the past, from the "experts" and from our own experience have given way at the slightest testing. Others point out that living from minute to minute means depending upon a number of fundamental presuppositions, most of which cannot be tested all the time. One obviously has to test all of their presuppositions all the time; at the same time one must depend on their assumptions fully in order to move through life.

Broader Problems:
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
15.12.2016 – 03:31 CET