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What is a word or idiom that means an argument made in the form of a question?

For example. If one were going to make the argument that you shouldn't just follow along with the crowd without using your own independent judgment, one might make that argument into the form of a question as follows:

If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too? [1]

I'm thinking of a word akin to tautology. Although tautology has a meaning far from the meaning I seek, the color and texture of tautology is similar to what I seek.

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  • How is that an argument? Needs more explanation.
    – Kris
    Dec 22, 2019 at 10:27
  • @Kris: For example. If one were trying to make the argument that you shouldn't just follow along with the crowd without using your own independent judgment, one might make that argument into the form of a question as follows: "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too?"
    – user0939
    Dec 22, 2019 at 10:37
  • Now it works. See Mike Graham below. Also my comment there.
    – Kris
    Dec 22, 2019 at 10:39
  • @Kris: I should have been clearer. Although I used a rhetorical question in my example, I did not mean to limit the scope of the answers to only include rhetorical questions. I wanted the word for an actual argument used in, say, a debating context. Note to self: improve this question perhaps with a better, non-rhetorical example.
    – user0939
    Dec 22, 2019 at 10:43
  • It is a straw man argument in the form of a question. You can read this explanation of an xkcd comic strip that has the same "jump off a bridge" counterargument.
    – ermanen
    Dec 25, 2019 at 17:50

3 Answers 3

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From a comment under the question:

Although I used a rhetorical question in my example, I did not mean to limit the scope of the answers to only include rhetorical questions.

If you are thinking in terms of one person trying to lead another person into reaching some kind of understanding through critical analysis, and doing so by asking questions that invite reflection, then you are talking about the Socratic method.

From Wikipedia:

The Socratic method (also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. It is named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates and is introduced by him in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.

The Socratic method is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions.

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argumentative question

a question asked by someone, often a lawyer, which is asked as a question but contains a statement and is not really asking for information

The prosecutor asked an argumentative question, and it was meant to cause undue embarrassment to the witness.

(TransLegal: Legal English Dictionary)

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A rhetorical question is one you don't expect an answer for, but that makes a point itself.

A leading question is one engineered to get the desired answer.

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  • It's a rhetorical, not leading, question. "Would you jump off one too? (No, you wouldn't, right?. So it is with this here.).
    – Kris
    Dec 22, 2019 at 10:42

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