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Circular Reasoning Fallacy – Definition & Examples

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In the world of argument and debate, we often rely on logic to make our points clear and convincing. However, there’s a sneaky trick that sometimes creeps into our reasoning called the “circular reasoning fallacy”. This fallacy occurs when someone uses their conclusion as part of their premise, essentially going round in circles without actually proving anything.

Imagine you’re trying to convince your friend that you’re right about something. Instead of providing solid evidence or reasons, you simply repeat your belief over and over again. It’s like saying, “I’m right because I know I’m right. It sounds convincing at first, but when you dig deeper you realise that it doesn’t really prove anything.

 

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Circular reasoning often hides behind seemingly logical statements, making it hard to spot. Let’s look at some examples to understand it better:

 

Circular Reasoning Fallacy Examples:

Example 1:

John: “The book is trustworthy because it says so on the back cover.”

In this example, John is using the statement on the back cover to prove the book’s trustworthiness. However, the statement on the back cover could be biased or inaccurate, so using it as evidence creates a circular argument.

 

Example 2:

Seller: You should buy this product because it’s well known for its exceptional quality.
Customer: What is it that makes this product so good?
Seller: Everyone knows. It’s the best in the industry.

 

Example 3: Circular Legal Justification:

Argument: “You must obey the law because it’s illegal to break the law.”

Explanation: This argument assumes the very point it intends to prove, creating a circular loop of reasoning without offering any external justification for why the law should be followed.

 

Example 4. Popularity Assertion:

Argument: “Mary is incredibly popular because everyone at school loves her.”
Explanation: This statement uses Amy’s popularity as evidence for why she is popular, failing to provide any substantive reasons beyond a circular reference to her existing popularity.

 

Example 5. Author’s Quality:

Argument: “J. K Rowling’s book is excellent because she is such a talented writer.”
Explanation: This argument relies on Rowling’s reputation as a talented writer to justify the quality of his book, neglecting to provide specific evidence or analysis of the book’s merits.

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