Thursday, June 7, 2012

Family Guy and the Post Hoc Fallacy

For this post, I want to discuss and provide an example of the Post Hoc Fallacy (full name: Post hoc ergo propter hoc; after this, therefore because of this). The Post Hoc fallacy is a type of False Cause fallacy, and a False Cause is a fallacy in which some kind of correlation is mistaken for a causal relation. In the case of the Post Hoc, the fallacy lies in the assumption that because one event follows another the first event must have caused the second. This fallacy is clearly illustrated in the following clip:

The Post Hoc fallacy here lies in the assumption that because contracting herpes came after buying the car from a newspaper ad the two events must, therefore, be causally connected. The fallaciousness of the Post Hoc Fallacy is revealed by the extreme temporal distance between the two events.

A similar example of the fallacy can be found in the Simpson's episode "Much Apu About Nothing." Unfortunately, video clips of this scene are unavailable, so I will refer you to this discussion of it.

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