Fallacy of prescience

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For other uses of prescience, see precognition.

The fallacy of prescience is a term used by Smith, DeShaye and Stoicheff[1] to describe an erroneous exploratory research technique in which the experimental scaffolding embeds assumptions about what will be discovered. The example cited describes a common practice in Humanities Computing in which an XML database and schema are designed at the outset of a research project to annotate a document as a means of discovering the structural relationships within the subject text. The fallacy, they say, arises from the fact that some inferences must be made about the structures that will be discovered in order to construct the schema that will describe them. The fallacy of prescience can be viewed as a procedural manifestation of the informal fallacy of begging the question.

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