Saturday, August 12, 2006

Logical Fallacies, Part 6: Post Hoc Reasoning

The term post hoc reasoning comes from the Latin phrase post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this). The writer incorrectly assumes that one event caused another just because the first event preceded the second event. Example:

The Firm lost $1.5 million in assets last fiscal year. Undeniably, management lost its resolve to stem operating losses after CEO Mitchell’s retirement.

Perhaps the CEO’s retirement did have an effect on the company’s losses; however, the absoluteness of the claim defies clear thinking.

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