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The Fallacy of Circular Logic -- Why It's Used

Updated: Feb 14

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"Circular Logic" seems to be a fairly common logical fallacy in our world. It happens when a person finishes an argument with a conclusion that is identical to their given premise, or what they began with. It happens when a person finishes an argument with a conclusion that is identical to their given premise, or what they began with.

For example, one may claim that coffee is tasty because it's fun to drink. One could claim that this is circular logic because the reason is identical to the premise. Tasty food and drink are by nature fun to consume, so claiming that things are tasty because they are fun, does not contribute much in terms of having an additional reason for it. You essentially said the same thing twice.

It's called circular because one can imagine it like a circle rather than a line that moves in its own direction. When A is B because of A, you returned to A like a line forms a circle -- by going to its original position.

I think a lot of people use circular logic because they don't pay attention, or care in general, to distinguish between reason and the premise it represents. The point of giving a reason is to better explain something and justify it as logical, not to say the same thing in different words.

I won't be surprised if I accidentally use circular logic in my career as a philosopher, but it isn't always easy to avoid every fallacy that there is. I myself am open to learning new fallacies, and I sometimes try to invent new ones as well. It's essentially a developing role.

There is a very specific answer people give that can be associated with circular reasoning. When people say things like, "That's how life is" or "That's how the world works," it's very fallacious because it's already obvious that something exists if it's brought up for discussion as real.

If I ask something like, "Why are some people evil", and you tell me that people are evil because that's reality or those are the facts, you essentially provide no explanation. You only say that you agree with me that people are evil, without telling why.

There's something very submissive in circular reasoning, I think. To use it often is like accepting that things are the way they are without trying to understand them or explain them. I think that people who use such reasoning and claim to be victorious in life may not be as victorious as they think they are.

I don't think we should accept things as they are without valid reasoning, and I don't think acknowledging reality is sufficient for our understanding of it. I believe we should try to better understand how and why things work, especially if they are relevant to our lives and to things that generally interest us. After all, it's one of the main points of philosophy -- to search for a better understanding of reality.

Some people may be too tired or exhausted to do so, so I guess that could be a possible reason as to why circular logic is used. They might not have the energy to search for a reason to provide one or to engage in discussion, so they just "leave it at that" by using the same premise as a reason for an answer.

In a sense, we are not expected to philosophize. We are expected to do our jobs, get our degrees, and fulfill any other commitments that are in demand. So, assuming that philosophizing can disrupt our role in society, many of us just use circular reasoning to go on with our work and duties.

Philosophizing can not only be exhausting but also unsettling if one should reach a result like nihilism, anarchism, or any other ideology that can put one away from their set of expectations. As a result, I believe we are simply expected to accept things as they are with a little skepticism.

But in general, I don't really know why people may not think I know what I know when I present what I know in a question. If I ask why coffee is tasty, the question implies that I know, or think I know, that coffee is tasty. I don't see much point in telling me what I know once more when I've already looked for a reason.

The purpose of reason is to provide additional data rather than to repeat the premise in different words. Since circular logic does not aim to do so, it is unreasonable, regardless of the frequency of its usage in conversation.

I generally think that we are not, by inheritance, logical beings, or as logical as we may claim to be. I also include myself in that regard. My role as a philosopher is not to say that I am a very rational being, but to say that I strive to be as rational as I can.

I believe that being logical is a conscious effort that is required if we are to understand this reality. I believe that those who philosophize mostly or solely for the sake of attention are quite insensible. They're not genuine because the point is to better understand things, not get approval from others. It does not mean that they should not get approval, only that it's not the point of the occupation.

Sometimes people get approval BECAUSE of their fallacy, and not the opposite, because others may not see that fallacy as such, while it's possible to argue that it is.

So, for those reading philosophy and/or being philosophers themselves, try to avoid circular logic as much as possible, even if answers like "That's how life is" or "It is what it is" may be regarded by many as a reasonable insight. All it takes to avoid circular logic is to distinguish between reason and premise.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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