Circular reasoning is a common logical fallacy. It is a form of the Fallacy of Presumption. In these fallacies, an argument sounds coherent and compelling, but is actually dependent on one or more faulty or unproven arguments . In circular reasoning, each claim loops around and rests on the assumption of one of the other claims. Thus, no single starting point is ever conclusively and independently established.
“Donald Trump says that he is trustworthy. But Donald Trump is a liar. You can’t trust liars. When Donald Trump says that he is trustworthy, he is lying.”
“Crooked Hillary is crooked because she’s untrustworthy. She can’t be trustworthy because she’s crooked.”
Circular Reasoning in Everyday Contexts.
Circular reasoning can pop up in many contexts in daily life. How many times have you heard “trust him;” she “wouldn’t lie to you,” or they “know what they’re talking about”? If the premise is true, then it warrants trust. But there is no guarantee of that premise being true.
Even the Experts Can Be Fooled.
Consider the circular argument presented on behalf of the Obama administration in a 2012 Supreme Court case (and accepted by the Court):
- You must have confirmation of surveillance occurring in order to sue the US government over warrant-less surveillance.
- But the US government refuses to confirm who it surveils because of national security concerns.
- Therefore, anyone under surveillance cannot confirm that they are under surveillance and essentially has no way of challenging the surveillance.
How Rootclaim Avoids the Trap of Circular Reasoning.
Circular reasoning thrives on complexity. The more steps in the argument, the more likely one is to accept the argument without realizing that it is circular. Rootclaim’s methodology counters this and other fallacies by breaking down a complex claim into discrete parts, and then analyzing each piece independently.
Rootclaim’s unique methodology also uses Bayesian inference networks. In this kind of network, the relationship between claims runs in only one direction. This avoids the cyclical loops that lead to circular reasoning and related fallacies. By always working in only one direction and examining each claim separately, Rootclaim avoids these fallacies.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Logical fallacies derail your arguments and undermine your conclusions. Use Rootclaim to avoid these pitfalls and reach a stronger, more reliable conclusion.