In a debate I had with friends, I noticed one tactic he would use occasionally would be to make a statement like:

Julian Assange broke the law, and we all lost

I think both parts of this statement are valid on their own (Julian Assange broke laws, and I believe the world will be at a loss with a Trump presidency) however together it seems to imply causality. It sounds like a post hoc fallacy however he never explicitly states the causality. I challenged his statement claiming it as a post hoc fallacy and he argued that it is not because he never explicitly stated that causality was for certain, and likewise I cannot prove that causality DOES NOT exist.

This left me confused, almost like he is arguing against his own point to make it appear like a benign meaningless statement when clearly it is meant to sway opinions to his side.

Is this a form of a post hoc fallacy, and if so, must causality be proven to NOT exist for it to be challenged?

  • The for of post hoc fallacy is : "A occurred, then B occurred. Therefore, A caused B." Jan 6, 2017 at 13:16
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    If causality is not considered, from "A occurred, then B occurred" states a fact: we may agree that it is true. So what ? what are you (him) trying to deduce from it ? Jan 6, 2017 at 13:18
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    @MauroALLEGRANZA Yes it is a fact, however I think it is sneaky. Somebody whom has never taken a basic Logic course in school or is not thinking critically may fill in the blanks of that statement and imply causality. I believe this is the intent of the person that crafted the statement, to be logically sound yet misleading at the same time. Jan 6, 2017 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


So your friend's second argument has the fault of being a Referential fallacy;

assuming all words refer to existing things and that the meaning of words reside within the things they refer to, as opposed to words possibly referring to no real object or that the meaning of words often comes from how we use them.

He argues that his original point is not "post hoc" simply because he does not explicitly state "I make this conclusion based on this correlation", but the correlation is implied and presented in how he delivers his statement grammatically.

From your example "Julian Assange broke the law, and we all lost" the comma or pause when verbally relaying the argument does imply the explicit connection that "because Julian broke the law we all lost".

So, to summarise, he does explicitly imply the correlation but argues that the phrasing he used doesn't mean what it actually does which is the second fallacy he commits.

  • Brilliant! This explanation makes so much sense. Thank you! Jan 6, 2017 at 16:21

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