- Post hoc ergo propter hoc
Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because of this," is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) that states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one." It is often shortened to simply post hoc and is also sometimes referred to as false cause, coincidental correlation, or correlation not causation. It is subtly different from the fallacy cum hoc ergo propter hoc, in which the chronological ordering of a correlation is insignificant.
Post hoc is a particularly tempting error because temporal sequence appears to be integral to causality. The fallacy lies in coming to a conclusion based solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection.
The form of the post hoc fallacy can be expressed as follows:
- A occurred, then B occurred.
- Therefore, A caused B.
When B is undesirable, this pattern is often extended in reverse: Avoiding A will prevent B.
Examples"I can't help but think that you are the cause of this problem; we never had any problem with the furnace until you moved into the apartment." The manager of the apartment house, on no stated grounds other than the temporal priority of the new tenant's occupancy, has that the tenant's presence has some causal relationship to the furnace's becoming faulty.More and more young people are attending high schools and colleges today than ever before. Yet there is more juvenile delinquency and more alienation among the young. This makes it clear that these young people are being corrupted by their education.
One class of examples is sometimes called the "Rooster Syndrome": "believing that the rooster’s crowing causes the sun to rise".
- ^ Damer, T Edward (1995). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments (3rd. ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-534-21750-1. OCLC 30319422.
- ^ Engel, S Morris (1994). With good reason: an introduction to informal fallacies (5th. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-312-08479-0. OCLC 30478315.
-  in the Experiment-resources.com by Martyn Shuttleworth
- Post hoc fallacy in the Skeptic's Dictionary by Robert T. Carroll
- Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc in the Fallacy Files by Gary N. Curtis
- Non Causa Pro Causa in the Fallacy Files by Gary N. Curtis
Informal fallaciesAbsence paradox · Begging the question · Blind men and an elephant · Cherry picking · Complex question · False analogy · Fallacy of distribution (Composition · Division) · Furtive fallacy · Hasty generalization · I'm entitled to my opinion · Loaded question · McNamara fallacy · Name calling · Nirvana fallacy · Rationalization (making excuses) · Red herring fallacy · Special pleading · Slothful induction Correlative-based fallacies Deductive fallacies Inductive fallacies Vagueness and ambiguity Equivocation Questionable causeList of fallacies · Other types of fallacy Philosophy of time Concepts
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