The Nature of the “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” Fallacy

The post hoc fallacy is founded on the false idea that since event A preceded event B, then event A must-have triggered event B. The fallacy assumes that an earlier event must have caused the later event. The Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy starts with a simple observation of two events happening in sequence. Consequently, it seems to be good retroductive thinking since the temporal ordering of this form is just the form of concomitance that may propose a causal link.

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Nevertheless, it is also probable that the temporal ordering is only a coincidence, or due to some further fundamental factors, like unrelated phenomena happening in temporal sequence always. The huge majority of events taking place in a single moment are unassociated with the events that follow. Therefore, temporal ordering alone is a deprived guide to causal associations (Arnauld & Nicole, 1996).

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A good example is that the rooster always crows before the sunrise, thus the sunrise is caused by the crowing rooster. This kind of reasoning can be regarded to be logically fallacious since the fact that an event A took place earlier does not certainly mean that it caused the subsequent event; B. It is important to note that events that happen in succession might be causally associated though they might also be completely discrete, despite happening in a sequence. The Post Hoc misconception imitates good retroductive perceptive by noting an honest association, though it errs in centering on a concomitance that is very ordinary as to be meaningless, except if accompanied by other suggestive particulars and a common-sense comprehending of how cause and effect operate (Arnauld & Nicole, 1996).

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