There is an assumption I made in my paper which has no real world application to back it up. Hence I call this assumption as "artificial assumption" to indicate that this assumption is not natural, it's man-made.

However, when I google this term online I found no match at all, and it makes me think that native speakers never use this term. So, what words will you use to describe what I want here other than "artificial assumption"? Thank you!

  • I would prefer to have more context, but perhaps "false assumption".
    – Inazuma
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 13:55
  • 5
    I don't think "false assumption" is a good choice, because it makes it sound like the assumption is wrong, which is not what we mean. Personally, I would just call it an assumption, with no adjective. "Assumption" just means "a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof" or "something that you assume to be the case, even without proof", so I don't think there's any need for an adjective to specify that it's not backed up by anything in the real world.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 14:45
  • You can use word "empirical". Since it is entirely theoretical
    – user35022
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 4:12
  • I'm not sure I understand - all assumptions are man-made. Do you mean that you made the assumption just for the sake of argument, as a way of starting a chain of logic?
    – John Feltz
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


The term artificial assumption is actually used: here is a list of references to it.

If the assumption is not backed up by empirical evidence, you could call it an unsupported assumption. This term appears to be reasonably widely used, but it does have overtones that the assumption might incorrect, and in Bayesian analysis it is defined to mean that the data suggests that a relaxation of the assumption is appropriate.


If you're making an assumption for a paper, I guess you could call it a hypothetical condition, because you're assuming something is true, in the context of discussing something else. Like in economics when they say things like, "assuming Ceterus peribus, I could say that the demand curve looks like this..."

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