Circular reasoning is one of the more difficult logical fallacies to identify, because it is typically hidden behind dense language and complicated sentences. Reasoning is described as circular when it offers no support for assertions other than restating them in different words. Put another way, a circular argument refers to itself as evidence of truth. A simple example of circular argument is when a person uses a word to define itself, such as saying “Niceness is the state of being nice.” If the reader does not know what nice means, then this definition will not be very useful. In a text, circular reasoning is usually more complex. For instance, an author might say “Poverty is a problem for society because it creates trouble for people throughout the community.” It is redundant to say that poverty is a problem because it creates trouble. When an author engages in circular reasoning, it is often because he or she has not fully thought out the argument, or cannot come up with any legitimate justifications.
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Last updated: 12/15/2017
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