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Encyclopedia > Circular cause and consequence

Circular cause and consequence is a logical fallacy where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause. This is also known as the the chicken or the egg fallacy. A logical fallacy is an error in logical argument which is independent of the truth of the premises. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


A famous circular cause and consequence is the Catch 22 on Joseph Heller's novel of the name. Catch 22 has become a term, inspired by Joseph Hellers novel Catch-22, describing a general situation in which A must have been preceded by B, and B must have been preceded by A. Symbolically, (~B => ~A) & (~A => ~B) where either A or B must come into being first. ... Joseph Heller in 1961 Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 - December 12, 1999) was an American novelist best remembered for writing the satiric World War II classic Catch-22. ...

  • One may only be excused from flying bombing missions on the grounds of insanity;
  • One must assert one's insanity to be excused on this basis;
  • One who requests to be excused is presumably in fear for his life. This is taken to be proof of his sanity, and he is therefore obliged to continue flying missions;
  • One who is truly insane presumably would not make the request. He therefore would continue flying missions, even though as an insane person he could of course be excused from them simply by asking.

In other words, if one does ask to be excused, this is a sign of sanity, and yet nobody can't be excused if sane. If one does not ask to be excused, he must be insane, but cannot be excused unless he asks. The result is that whether or not one is insane, he will have to fly dangerous missions.


Another circular cause and consequence is presented by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass, where Red Queen states "Jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today". Since every tomorrow becomes eventually today as the future turns into present, and past is gone forever, the result is that poor Alice will never have jam. Photograph of Lewis Carroll taken by himself, with assistance Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was a British author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer. ... Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a work of childrens literature by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and is the sequel to Alices Adventures in Wonderland. ...


A real-life circular cause and consequence fallacy is that one cannot get a job without experience, but one cannot get experience without a job. In this respect, the initial move to the job market can be very challenging.


Another serious circular cause and consequence fallacy presented very seriously was a Marxist rhetorical claim of non-existence in the former Soviet Union. When peope asked of crime in USSR, the official answer was:

Crime is an integral phenomenon of the Capitalist society and its social injusticies. Since we do not have Capitalist society, we have no social injusticies and no crime either.

The circular cause and consequence fallasy is much akin to No true Scotsman fallacy, but where "No true Scotsman" fallacy assumes the premise wrong in an exception, the circular cause and consequence implies an impossible outcome in an exception. No true Scotsman is a term coined by Anthony Flew in his 1975 book It refers to an argument which takes this form: Argument: No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Causality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4416 words)
Aristotle said: "All causes of things are beginnings; that we have scientific knowledge when we know the cause; that to know a thing's existence is to know the reason why it is".
It embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the whole (macrostructure) is the cause of its parts (the whole-part causation).
The Final Cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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