Post hoc ergo propter hoc

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a Latin phrase that literally translated, means "after this, therefore because of this". It is also called the post hoc fallacy. It is a logical fallacy that happens when someone says "event B happened after event A so event A must have caused event B".[1]

It is different from the idea that correlation does not imply causation, as in post hoc, the assumption is made solely on the order of events, rather than taking into account other factors that might rule out the connection.

An example is:

  • The rooster crows immediately before sunrise.
  • Therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise.

Popular culture[change | change source]

The phrase is used by the character Sheldon Cooper in the third season of The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon mentions the logical fallacy in disputing his mother's claim that her prayer group did ensure his safety during his North Pole expedition.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Pinto, Robert. Argument, Inference and Dialectic: Collected Papers on Informal Logic. p. 56. 
  2. "The Big Bang Theory".