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I've read all related online posts but still found quite confused in distinguishing the two.

I tried to construct the following examples:

i) My colleagues are wrong in alleging there are more crimes in our country. They assume that increasing crime rates to be indicative of the actual number of crimes.

ii) My colleagues are wrong in alleging there are more crimes in our country. They presuppose that increasing crime rates to be indicative of the actual number of crimes.

Could anyone please help explain the difference in tone and implication?

Thanks!

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    I'm stuck on how the crime rate can increase without the number of crimes increasing. – nnnnnn Oct 24 '20 at 6:15
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    @nnnnnn Presumably, changing the denominator changes the rate when the numerator is kept constant. Assuming rate is used in something like a ‘per capita’ sense, of course. – Lawrence Oct 24 '20 at 15:35
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    It is also possible that crime rates was intended to stand for something like the crime rates as they appear in some official statistics (this interpretation is suggested by the use of actual in the contrasting item). In any event, that is not relevant to the question. – jsw29 Oct 24 '20 at 17:16
  • @nnnnnn One possibility is that the police are arresting and charging more people with a certain crime, even though this crime is not committed any more frequently than it used to be. Not every crime that is committed is reported and statistically accounted for. If the police cracked down heavily on jaywalking, for instance, we'd see an apparent skyrocket in the rate of jaywalking, even if (potentially) actual instances of jaywalking went down due to increased enforcement. – Rivers McForge Oct 24 '20 at 21:19
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I am a native speaker. I've looked at five different dictionaries and am now only a little less confused than you. Moreover, I think that the definitional entry from the Macquarie dictionary indicates how close the two meanings often are!

Presuppose. 1. to suppose or assume beforehand; to take for granted in advance. 2. (of a thing) to require or imply as an antecedent condition.

Nonetheless, despite the closeness of meaning, I think that presuppose implies that there was indeed some active thinking on the part of the presupposer. That isn't, so far as I can see, necessarily true of assume.

Consider, for example, a government financial forecast that is criticized on the basis of relying on "hidden assumptions". To me, there is no inherent implication in the term "hidden assumptions" that those assumptions (i.e., all of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the forecast to be accurate) were ever actively considered by the forecasters. In contrast, I don't think that presuppose could be used with the same meaning. "Hidden presuppositions" would suggest that there was something that was actively considered by the forecasters and then was deliberately hidden in the published analysis.

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