In the English language, there are many forms of fallacy, one of these is post hoc ergo propter hoc which is quite commonly used. Whilst it may sound like a complex concept, it really isn’t In this article, we are going to be taking a look at exactly what post hoc ergo propter hoc is and how it is used, giving you a better idea of how to recognise it. We are also going to be looking at a selection of examples as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of its function.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Definition
What Is Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Post hoc ergo propter hoc comes from the Latin language and directly translates as ‘after this, therefore because of this’ which gives us an insight into what it is.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a form of fallacy which implies that event 1 occurs after event 2 therefore event 2 must have caused event 1 to happen. This obviously isn’t always the case, of course, but this form of fallacy is still widely used in a variety of situations.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Examples
Now that we have a better understanding of what this type of fallacy is, we are going to be looking at some examples of how it is used to give us a better understanding of it.
- In TV commercials which advertise body sprays, we frequently see the use of post hoc ergo propter hoc when a man purchases the spray because he has trouble attracting a woman. Once he uses the spray, many beautiful women notice him. This would imply that the spray will attract beautiful women.
- Another way that this form of fallacy is used in advertising is through things such as diet plans showing people signing up and losing a lot of weight-we are led to think that the reason for the weight loss was the diet plan, however this is not necessarily true.
- The famous ‘link’ between vaccines and autism is a fine example of post hoc ergo propter hoc. It implies that a handful of children were diagnosed with autism after receiving an MMR vaccination – therefore the vaccination must be the cause of the autism diagnosis when this is not actually the case.
- One might presume that a massive rise in sales at a local store was a result of the new range they had brought in. However, this may not be the case, it could be that the store upped its marketing or word of mouth is to blame.
- In politics, there are many types of fallacy being used, and post hoc ergo propter hoc can be seen when we look at how there was a relief from the recession once Mr Obama became president. Many people would say that he must be the reason for this as it happened after he came into office, however, there may have been other factors at play.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a type of fallacy which gives the impression that an event was the cause of another due to the events occurring one after the other. This fallacy is used in a variety of ways such as in advertising and debating.
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Infographic