A circular argument is a type of argument that can be quite frustrating because it feels like we’re getting nowhere. However, by recognizing a circular argument, we can work to avoid it and move forward.
What is a circular argument, and how can we avoid it? For your ease, we have mentioned circular arguments with examples.
What Is Meant By Circular Argument?
A circular argument, also known as a vicious circle, is an argument that assumes the initial conclusion in one of its premises. This type of argument is thus logically self-contradictory or self-defeating and fails to provide evidence supporting its conclusion’s truth.
Consider the following argument: “I know God exists because the Bible tells me so. And I know that the Bible is true because it was written by God.” This argument is circular because it assumes that God exists to prove that God exists.
Let’s say I argue that ghosts exist because I saw one last night. I would then use a circular argument because my premise (ghosts exist) requires my conclusion (I saw a ghost) to be true. Of course, this doesn’t prove that ghosts exist, so it’s not a good argument.
Similarly, an argument may be considered circular if it simply restates its conclusion in different words ( begs the question).
In such cases, the argument provides no formal logical evidence or information to support its claims. Circular arguments are usually unsatisfying to readers or listeners because they fail to provide any real support for their conclusions.
Circular arguments are often used in informal debates as a way of trying to support an already-held belief. However, they should be avoided since they don’t provide evidence for their conclusions. If you find yourself in an argument where someone uses a circular argument, the best thing to do is simply point out the flaw in their reasoning.
How To Avoid Circular Argument
A circular argument is when someone uses the same information to support their point without providing new evidence. Although providing an argument without proof and evidence can be frustrating for both the person making the argument and their audience.
There are a few ways to avoid circular arguments.
- First, make sure that all of your evidence comes from reliable sources. If you’re only relying on your own opinion, it’s easy to fall into the trap of circular reasoning.
- Second, try to present your evidence in a way that is logical and easy to follow. If your argument is hard to follow, you’re likely going too far in circles.
- Finally, be willing to change your position if new evidence arises. If you’re stuck in a cycle of arguing the same points repeatedly, it may be time to reevaluate your position.
By being open-minded and using reliable sources, you can avoid the trap of circular reasoning.
What Is Petitio Principii Begging The Question
Petitio principii means appeal to beg. It is also known as begging the question, a logical fallacy in which the premises of an argument that are meant to prove the conclusion assume the conclusion is true. In other words, you’re using the conclusion you’re trying to prove as one of your premises.
This kind of reasoning is faulty because it doesn’t give any evidence to support the conclusion. You just assumed that it was true. Begging the question is a common error in everyday reasoning and can be difficult to spot.
However, if your premises rely on the conclusion you’re trying to reach, you’re probably guilty of begging the question.
18 years old must vote because it is legal for them to vote.
In this example, you are trying to say that 18 year old must vote because it is legal for them to vote. Similarly, it is legal for 18 years old to vote because it is their right.
To avoid this fallacy, ensure that your premises are independent of your conclusion. Provide evidence and reasons to support your claims, and don’t assume that your readers will accept your conclusion as true.
One example could be: “The way to solve this problem is by using trial and error.” This statement assumes that trial and error is a good way to solve problems, but it does not provide any justification for this claim.
Therefore, it commits the fallacy of petitio principii.
Relation Between Petitio Principii And Circular Argument
Petito Principii got its name from the Latin phrase petitio principii, which means “assuming the principle.” In other words, the arguer assumes what they are trying to prove. This Fallacy is closely related to a circular argument because the conclusion is used as one of the premises.
To avoid this logical error, it is important always to ensure that your argument is supported by evidence. Otherwise, you risk falling into the trap of circular reasoning.
For example, imagine someone trying to prove that all dogs are carnivores. They might say, “Dogs need meat to be healthy.” This statement assumes that all dogs are carnivores, which is what the person is trying to prove in the first place.
Circular Examples Of Begging the Question
A question that presupposes its answer is “begging the question.” This type of question is sometimes used as a rhetorical device. Begging the question is an informal fallacy that occurs when someone assumes that their conclusion is true without providing any evidence to support it.
This type of reasoning is sometimes called “circular reasoning” because it effectively assumes that what it is trying to prove is already true.
Here are some examples of questions that beg the question.
Eggs came first because chicken comes from eggs, and again, eggs come from the chicken.
Do you still beat your wife? This question assumes that the person being asked has a history of domestic violence.
Non-Circular Examples Of Begging the Question
If begging the question, simply assume the first part of the right without proving it. It is noncircular. Check the examples to understand;
Someone might claim that ghosts exist because they have seen one with their own eyes. But this merely begs the question of whether or not ghosts exist.
Another example of begging the question might be if someone claims a particular law is unjust because it unfairly punishes people who have not done anything wrong. Once again, this begs the question of whether or not the law in question is unjust.
Another example is when one says 18 years old should vote because it is their right. In this the person has already assumed that 18 years old must vote because it is their right.
As these examples illustrate, begging the question can take many different forms. However, all instances of this fallacy share one common feature: they all involve assuming something to be true without providing evidence.
Lastly, in a circular argument, Petitio Principii, or begging the question, a premise requires the conclusion as proof. This usually happens when someone is trying to support a claim by using a premise that only makes sense if the claim is already true.
Frequently Asked Question
Do Circular Arguments Have True Conclusion?
Yes, circular arguments can have a true conclusion. For an argument to be circular, the premises must refer back to the original conclusion. If that’s not the case, then it’s not a circular argument and can be evaluated on its own merits.
Having a true conclusion doesn’t mean it’s persuasive. Most people find them pretty unconvincing. The reason is that they’re difficult to follow and don’t seem to go anywhere. So even if you accept the premises and the logic of the argument, it still might not lead you to believe the conclusion.
Is Circular Argument Valid?
No, circular arguments are not valid. A circular argument is an argument in which the argument’s premises rely on the conclusion for support. Therefore, this argument does not provide a logical basis for its conclusion and is invalid.
For example, consider this argument:
Bob says that Alice is lying.
Alice says that Bob is lying.
This is an example of a circular argument because the truth of both statements relies on each other. To determine who is telling the truth, we need extrinsic evidence to help us decide between Bob and Alice. Without this evidence, it’s impossible to know who is telling the truth and who is lying.
Hello, everyone! I am Cathy A. and I am the Chief Author and Editor at WriteArgumentativeEssays.com. I overlook all the guides and blogs being written on the website about argumentative essay writing.