Circular thinking: We've all seen our parents do it - think about it, but how? (2023)

Have you ever had this conversation with your parents:

Parent: "It's time for bed."
Child: "Why?"
Parent: "Because it's bedtime."

At that moment, you may be dissatisfied with their answer, but you don't know how to refute it. Knowledge is power and in this case you are powerless against your parents because you know nothing about itlogical fallacy- Errors in reasoning, such asStroman,to a man,youAppeal popularity

Here's another example illustrating the same fallacy:

Circle: "Skydiving is dangerous."
why me? "
Circle: "Because it's not safe."

Mentions a fallacy committed by Circle (the same fallacy committed by the parent in the previous example).circular reasoningfromAsk a question. Circular reasoning occurs when the arguer assumes a conclusion to be true instead of proving it to be true. To better understand what this means, let's go a step furtherwhat is inference

An argument is a series of statements that attempt to prove a claim.The statement that the arguer is trying to prove is called the conclusion. Statements that attempt to prove a conclusion are called premises.

In order to prove a conclusion, the premises cannot contain the conclusion itself. it's like trying to prove somethingfrom the new york timeshe quotes that it's truetimealone. My friend Circle can't prove that skydiving is dangerous just by saying it's dangerous. In other words, he can't prove that it's dangerous by saying "skydiving is dangerous because it's dangerous." You can't prove something is true just by saying it or repeating it.

quite,To prove something is true, you have to come up with reasons independent of the conclusion- Have not assumed or presupposed why your conclusions are correct. For example, to demonstrate that skydiving is dangerous, Circle had to provide some data on how often people were injured or killed while skydiving.

When you present an argument, you must give reasons to believe the conclusion is true. But when one commits the fallacy of circular reasoning, there is no reason to believe that the conclusion is correct. Here's another example to illustrate the point:

God exists.
This is why God exists.

In this example, you can see that there is no reason to believe the argument's conclusion. Instead, arguers simply restate the conclusions—they think their conclusions are correct. More precisely, they use their conclusions as premises or assumptions. Here's one way to define circular inference:Circular reasoning occurs when someone uses their conclusion as one of the premises.

Often, circular reasoning is not as obvious as it is in this example. When people make a fallacy, they usually don't repeat the conclusion verbatim; instead, they change the way they word it.

Remember my conversation with Kruger. Here's Circle's alleged argument:

statement:Skydiving is not safe.
in conclusion:Skydiving is dangerous.

Kruger said skydiving is not safe because it is dangerous. The word "unsafe" is not the same as the word "dangerous". The problem is that although "unsafe" and "dangerous" are different words, they still mean the same thing. So in effect, Circle said skydiving is dangerous because it's dangerous; he just used another word for "dangerous."

The wording change created the illusion that Kruger was making real reasons to believe his skydive was a dangerous conclusion, when in fact he was merely repeating it.

Here's another example:

God's word is true.
Therefore the Bible is true.

Again, the speaker gives no reason to believe the conclusion is correct, but simply substitutes one term for the other: "God's Word" for "Scripture."

Here are some more examples of circular reasoning:

Example 1

"The death penalty is justified because the government has every reason to sentence people to death for serious crimes."

Explanation: In this case, the disputing party did not give reasons to justify the death penalty. In other words, they just repeat their conclusions. They use "with good reason" instead of "reasonable". The arguer gives no reason to believe that the conclusion is correct.

Example #2

"The death penalty is never justified because taking human life is always wrong."

Explanation: In this case, the contenders offer no reason to argue that the death penalty can never be justified. Arguers simply replace "always wrong" with "never justified". The arguer doesn't give any reason to believe the conclusion is correct, but just restates it in different language.

Example #3

"Smoking is bad because it can negatively affect your health."

Explanation: In this case, the arguer gives no reason why smoking is harmful. The debaters simply replaced "bad" with "negative impact." The arguer doesn't give any reason to believe the conclusion is correct, but just restates it in different language.

Let's go back to the example above:

Parent: "It's time for bed."
Child: "Why?"
Parent: "Because it's bedtime."

Explanation: The parent said, "It's time for bed, because it's time for bed." No reason was given to support this conclusion. In other words, they just repeat the conclusion.

Here's another example of a parent using circular reasoning:

Parent: "Brushing your teeth is good for your health."
Child: "Why?"
Parent: "Because it's good for your teeth."

Instructions: Here are some examples of how parents can explain to their children why they should brush their teeth. In this example, "healthy" and "good" mean the same thing. Parents have no reason to believe that brushing is good for teeth. In other words, they just repeat the conclusion.

How to Eliminate Circular Thinking

All fallacies are errors in reasoning. Specifically, circular reasoning occurs when those making an argument assume their conclusion is true rather than proving it to be true. It's like the prosecutor stating the case, "Mr. Smith committed this crime because he did it." The prosecutor did not provide any arguments for his conclusion.

There are two steps to disabling circular inference:

  1. Clear terms.
  2. Point out that the speaker is just repeating his conclusion without giving any reason for accepting it.

Suppose I'm guilty of a fallacy: "Circular thinking is bad," I say, "because it's stupid."

First, let me clarify my terms. For example, you might say, "What do 'bad' and 'stupid' mean?" Asking for clarification helps clarify what I'm trying to say.

Second, you might point out that I'm just repeating my conclusions. For example, you might say, "It sounds like 'bad' and 'stupid' mean exactly the same thing here. Since that's the case, you have no reason to trust your conclusion. You're just repeating your conclusion with different words.

Circular reasoning is a common misconception because people just want you to believe their conclusions without any support. The two-step process helps you find support for your conclusions and also helps you identify and avoid fallacies.

The Free Thinker's Circular Reasoning Method

Free thinkers work to know and understand the truth. Free thinkers work on developing critical thinking skills and learning different types of arguments. They work on pointing out formal and informal fallacies when people commit them, and on acknowledging circular reasoning in other people's and their own arguments.

Summary and Conclusion

  • Circular reasoning occurs when someone uses a conclusion as one of the premises.
  • When debaters engage in circular reasoning, they assume that their conclusion is true rather than proving it to be true.
  • In order to prove a conclusion, you must present reasons that are independent of the conclusion.
  • Some other names for circular reasoning arecircular logic,please ask,begging,Circuit under test vicious circlefromcircle visible


What is circular thinking in psychology? ›

a type of informal fallacy in which a conclusion is reached that is not materially different from something that was assumed as a premise of the argument. In other words, the argument assumes what it is supposed to prove.

What is an example of circular reasoning? ›

Circular reasoning fallacy uses circular reasoning to support an argument. More specifically, the evidence used to support a claim is just a repetition of the claim itself. For example: “The President of the United States is a good leader (claim), because they are the leader of this country (supporting evidence)”.

What is fallacy of circular thinking? ›

The circular reasoning fallacy is an argument that assumes the very thing it is trying to prove is true. Instead of offering evidence, it simply repeats the conclusion, rendering the argument logically incoherent.

What are circular explanations? ›

Circular reasoning (Latin: circulus in probando, "circle in proving"; also known as circular logic) is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with.

What causes circular thoughts? ›

These circular thinking patterns are rooted in irrational beliefs fueled by anxiety and fear. Growing awareness and understanding of these thoughts will help you not be afraid of them, which stops them from having control over you. Don't be afraid to seek help if you are having a hard time managing obsessive thoughts.

How do you break out of circular thinking? ›

Here are 12 tips to try when you begin to experience the same thought, or set of thoughts, swirling around your head:
  1. Distract yourself. ...
  2. Plan and take action. ...
  3. Work out what you can and can't change. ...
  4. Change location. ...
  5. Revisit your thoughts and get some perspective. ...
  6. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  7. Work on enhancing your self-esteem.
May 24, 2023

What are three examples of circular? ›

Examples of circular motion are carousels or merry-go-rounds in parks, a car going around a roundabout, the moon orbiting around the Earth or the Earth revolving around the Sun.

What is an example of a circular conversation? ›

For example, it may be about who should turn out the light or who should say “I'm sorry”. These can become circular arguments if the disagreement becomes a proxy for an underlying feeling, such as “I feel disrespected”, “I feel hurt” or “I feel afraid”.

Is begging the question the same as circular reasoning? ›

Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion. Arguments that beg the question work to obscure the actual points in controversy and can be looked at as a form of circular reasoning.

What is an example of a circular argument in real life? ›

To illustrate what we meant by “you can't define something by using it as the definition,” here are a few examples of a circular argument: Ryan makes delicious burgers because he's an excellent cook. You have to drive under the speed limit because it's illegal to drive faster than the speed limit.

What is the word for circular reasoning? ›

4) The fallacy of circular argument, known as petitio principii (“begging the question”), occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly, the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated (example: “Gregory always votes wisely.” “ But how do you know?” “ Because he always votes Libertarian.”).

What fallacy is similar to circular reasoning? ›

Begging the Question (also called Petitio Principii, this term is sometimes used interchangeably with Circular Reasoning): If writers assume as evidence for their argument the very conclusion they are attempting to prove, they engage in the fallacy of begging the question.

What is obsessive rumination disorder? ›

Rumination and OCD

Rumination is a core feature of OCD that causes a person to spend an inordinate amount time worrying about, analyzing, and trying to understand or clarify a particular thought or theme.

What mental illness causes rumination? ›

Importantly, however, rumination is not only related to depression, but is involved in the development and/or maintenance of a broad range of disorders, including post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, insomnia, eating disorders, somatic symptom disorder, and substance use disorders2, 3.

Why do my thoughts spiral out of control? ›

This anxiety spiral — also known as “catastrophic thinking” or “magnifying,” — is cognitive distortion that often occurs alongside anxiety and depression. Think of your brain as a rocky mountain: one single negative thought loosens an avalanche of related anxieties.

What is the best medication for rumination? ›

Medication. If frequent rumination is damaging the esophagus, proton pump inhibitors such as esomeprazole (Nexium) or omeprazole (Prilosec) may be prescribed. These medications can protect the lining of the esophagus until behavior therapy reduces the frequency and severity of regurgitation.

What is looping in mental illness? ›

A cognitive/emotive loop is a repeating pattern where thoughts and beliefs produce feelings that fuel our rightness about our stories, that then further intensify our feelings, and on and on. They burn energy and get in the way of progress.

Why does my brain get stuck on thoughts? ›

It's just another indication of elevated stress and/or fatigue. It's not an indication of serious mental illness. Most people experience stuck thoughts from time to time. It becomes more prevalent when stress and fatigue are factors.

What are 6 examples of circular motion? ›

Examples of circular motion include: an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth at a constant height, a fan's blades rotating around a hub, a stone which is tied to a rope and is being swung in circles, a car turning through a curve in a race track, an electron moving perpendicular to a uniform magnetic field, and a ...

What is a circular conversation with a narcissist? ›

Gaslighting is the circular conversation that you have where no one ever wins. It is the argument that never ends, because there is no resolution that is satisfactory to the narcissist, who never compromises.

What is circularity in philosophy? ›

Circularity: An argument is circular just in case there is a premise, either implicit or explicit, that is logically equivalent to the conclusion. That is, the premise and the conclusion must have the same truth conditions.

In what ways should we seek to avoid begging the question in circular reasoning? ›

If you are worried that an argument begs the question, then, try breaking it down into premises and a conclusion. This should help you spot any circularity and work out whether there is a “gap” you need to fill.

What is an example of a straw man argument? ›

For example, if someone says “I think that we should give better study guides to students”, a person using a strawman might reply by saying “I think that your idea is bad, because we shouldn't just give out easy A's to everyone”.

What is circular argument in simple terms? ›

Circular reasoning, or circular argument, is a logical fallacy in which a person attempts to prove something using circular logic; they use the conclusion as evidence to show that the reasons for the very conclusion are true.

What is an example of false cause? ›

a type of informal fallacy or a persuasive technique in which a temporal sequence of events is assumed to be a causal sequence of events. Thus, because B follows A, A is considered the cause of B. For example, Because Smith became angry after being frustrated, Smith's frustration caused Smith's anger.

What are circular arguments with husband? ›

Circular arguments are those relational spats that go round and round without ever being resolved. For instance, a woman might say to her husband, “You're always late.” He responds, “You nag me too much.” She says back, “Then be ready next time.” His retort: “I was this way when you met me.”

What is tautological reasoning? ›

A tautological argument is otherwise known as a circular argument, that is, one that begins by assuming the very thing that is meant to be proven by the argument itself.

Is circular reasoning a paradox? ›

Circular arguments make us believe that our arguments result in a proposition being true, but that then implies that the same proposition must be false which implies that it must be true etc ad infinitum. A paradox. The simplest examples of such statements are "This sentence is false" or "I am always lying".

What is fallacy of non sequitur? ›

In traditional philosophy and logic, a non sequitur is classified as a logical fallacy because it involves flawed reasoning. This fallacy occurs when it is readily apparent that there's no connection between a given premise and the conclusion drawn.

What is an example of a non sequitur? ›

Non sequiturs can be responses that have nothing to do with the conversation or flawed conclusions “based” on what preceded them. Non sequitur fallacy example Premise 1: All birds have wings. Premise 2: That creature has wings. Conclusion: Therefore, that creature is a bird.

What is an example of circular reasoning in advertising? ›

Circular Argument

' It is when the same point is repeated and again without adding any additional information. In this fallacy, the claim is used as a premise and conclusion. A good circular argument example is, “Fake news is fake because it is fake news.”

What is an example of circular reasoning in the crucible? ›

Analysis. This example of Martha Corey defending herself as not being a witch is an example of begging the question/circular reasoning. This is because she claims not to be a witch for she does not know what one is.

Which is an example of circular logic quizlet? ›

Example: I know i'm smart because i have a big brain. Circular Reasoning is when you use to terms that don't really explain anything but they just go in a circle. Example: I know i'm smart because i have a big brain.

What is circular reasoning for kids? ›

Circular reasoning happens when someone uses the conclusion as one of their premises. When an arguer commits circular reasoning, they assume that the conclusion they're stating is true, rather than proving it's true. To prove a conclusion, you need to bring forward reasons that are independent of the conclusion.

What is an example of a vicious circle fallacy? ›

Examples: "Jones is an honest man. I know this is true, since Jones told me so himself, and an honest man like Jones surely wouldn't lie about something like that." "Everything Picasso draws is great art, even when he is just doodling on his napkin.

What is an example of circular argument in real life? ›

The premise of this argument (that doing drugs is illegal) is the same as the reasoning (it's against the law). This argument is circular because it returns to the beginning: It's against the law to do drugs because doing drugs is illegal, and, it's illegal to do drugs because it's against the law.

What is a modern day example of The Crucible? ›

The Crucible is a play based off historical events that unfolded in the town of Salem that highlights the effects of hysteria and explores the fear that can create critical issues in a society. Examples of this include the Ebola outbreak, the West Bank Fainting Epidemic and the Borneo Kidnapping Scare.

What is circular logic called? ›

(Begging the Question or Circular Argument) Abstract: Petitio principii is a logical fallacy where the conclusion of an argument is claimed to be proved by an equivalent statement in the premises. Furthermore, one of the premises is logically dependent on the conclusion of the argument.

What is a circular argument quizlet? ›

Circular reasoning is an attempt to support a statement by simply repeating the statement in different or stronger terms. In this fallacy, the reason given is nothing more than a restatement of the conclusion that poses as the reason for the conclusion.

Which fallacy is also known as circular reasoning quizlet? ›

Question begging (circular reasoning) This fallacy occurs when a person assumes what he or she is trying to prove. For this reason, question begging is also known as [circular] reasoning, because the arguer ends up where he or she began.

How do you argue against circular reasoning? ›

In order to avoid circular reasoning, careful analysis of the reasoning behind the premises and that one or more of the premises are not reliant on – or the same as – the conclusion for their validity. In a logical argument premises need to be valid on their own logical merit in order to support a conclusion.

Why is circular reasoning called begging the question? ›

Begging the question is when you use the point you're trying to prove as an argument to prove that very same point. Rather than proving the conclusion is true, it assumes it. It's also called circular reasoning and is a logical fallacy.


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