I thought of a scenario that raised some question for me, consider you:

[A] Face prejudice because of X -->
[B] Makes you more inclined to assume the next person who mistreats you is doing so because they are prejudiced (need less evidence before presumption of guilt)-->
[C] presume more people are guilty (of being prejudiced against you)--> [B].

Circular reasoning occurs when: the proposition (that someone is being predjudiced against me) is supported by the premise (that a portion of the population are predjudice against me), which is supported by the proposition. In this context this leads to a positive feedback loop.

Question: to clarify, is this assesment correct- this is a form of circular logic?
Question: is it fair to say this thinking is not necessarily fallacious?- these logical steps represent how past experiences help us spot patterns. The positive feedback loop only really becomes an issue when people are too quick to see patterns, i.e. [B] is disproportionately large relative to [A].

Note: Just want to highlight that the focus of this post is on the philosphical concepts - not a discussion on societal prejudices etc.

Would really like to here what you guys think!

  • A deductive argument can be circular. Either your writing is not clear or you seem to be reasoning inductively in this example. That is, some one is being prejudiced against you & they have person experiences [that might not concern you at all ]as the reasons why they are prejudiced against you. This reasoning doesn't apply to all people in this example so this is inductive as you wrote it or it is not clear if you are trying to be deductive. – Logikal Jul 11 '20 at 21:24
  • @Logikal thanks for your reply. Would a better assessment be that this is an “appeal to probability” fallacy en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability (which is an inductive fallacy), where the seemingly circular component simply stems from the fact that a positive feedback loop is made? – Ganon Jul 12 '20 at 1:57
  • No, if your argument is inductive reasoning there is less chance of committed the famous deductive reasoning fallacies. Inductive reasoning DOESN'T GUARANTEE the conclusion whatsoever. Basically it is kind of saying the probability of Z is . . . (Some percentage number). Deduction guarantees the conclusion 100 percent. So there is a difference in reliability. A personal bias is LIKELY not there for each person in the universe. So I was not sure if your argument is just a personal experience or if you intended a deductive argument. The way you wrote it made me think induction was meant here. – Logikal Jul 12 '20 at 3:20
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    "Making more inclined to assume" is a psychological mechanism, not rational reasoning, circular or otherwise. Self-reinforced biases are common (the mechanism is itself based on the confirmation bias), but they do not "support" propositions in any relevant sense. Nor do they constitute appeal to probability, or any other fallacy, until they are explicitly spelled out into rationalizations to that effect. – Conifold Jul 12 '20 at 3:47
  • Logikal and Conifold Thank you for your responses, I take both your points. @Conifold But at a conscious level I might reason, for example, that a particular instance of police brutality is fuelled by racism on the basis of historic patterns. I understand now this is not deductive but surely this can be considered a line of reasoning (inductive) and not just the product of you unconscious psychological mechanisms? As such would this not be a fallacy of some kind - (I acknowledge this is not what I initially wrote). – Ganon Jul 12 '20 at 11:37

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