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# What are Logical Fallacies That Incorporate Cause-And-Effect Mistakes?

Article Details
• Written By: Mary Elizabeth
• Edited By: Niki Foster
2003-2018
Conjecture Corporation
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Logical fallacies are errors of reason that can occur in inductive reasoning. Since inductive reasoning moves from the particular to the general, it is important to determine how much and what kind of evidence you need to make a valid argument. Failure to have proper evidence is linked to several kinds of logical fallacies.

Since logic is one of the main techniques used in persuasion, being able to identify and discount logical fallacies in others' arguments and avoid making them in one's own arguments are both important. One of the things that can undermine logic is making mistakes in relating cause and effect. There are several errors that one can make in arguing cause and effect, and the following fallacies of cause and effect occur so frequently that they are named.

Gambler's Due: The gambler's due fallacy assumes that the expectation of an event is increased after a number of times that it fails to occur, whereas the probability is, in fact, the same for each separate occurrence. An example is: Of course I'm going to buy another lottery ticket -- I haven't won anything all year, and I'm due. This is a logical fallacy of cause and effect because the probability of winning today is not causally related to not having won on prior days, even many prior days. Losing does not subsequently cause winning.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Assuming that sequence indicates causality is the mistake made by this Latin-named fallacy. Translated, the name means "after, therefore caused by." An example is: My cousin drank the town water and got leukemia. It must be the town water that caused her illness. The sequence of drinking town water and subsequently falling ill from leukemia does not in and of itself lead to a valid conclusion that the water was the causal agent in the illness. Thus, this is a cause and effect fallacy.

Slippery slope. In this fallacy, there is an assumption that one event inevitably leads to specific results, when the causal chain is by no means clear. An example is: Borrow the car? Next thing, you'll be wanting your own car, and your own apartment! This argument fails to treat an individual case as an individual case, and assumes that the case in question will unquestionably follow a pattern that is claimed to exist. A request to borrow a car may, in fact, go no further than the objective explicitly stated. The claimed cause and effect relationship simply does not exist.