Egyptologists’ Fallacies: Fallacies Arising from Limited Evidence

In: Journal of Egyptian History
John Gee Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship Brigham Young University

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It has been noted that Egyptologists tend to neglect methodology and consequently we are sometimes guilty of logical fallacies in our work. A subset of those fallacies that we tend toward are those fallacies in logic that result from our evidence being limited or inadequate. Those logical fallacies examined here are the fallacy of negative proof, the elimination of evidence, the fallacy of the lonely fact, and canonized guesswork. The fallacy of negative proof arises when we assume that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. When evidence contrary to our theories based on the fallacy of negative proof appears there is a tendency to explain it away or dismiss it. The fallacy of the lonely fact results when we generalize from a single case. There is also a tendency in the discipline to treat the guesses of others as facts even when correcting evidence appears.

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