What Is an Example of a Faulty Causality?

An example of a faulty causality, which is also known as a post-hoc fallacy, is arguing that the cause of something is that which preceded it, and which does not take into account any other possible causes. An argument based on a faulty causality also ignores the possibility of coincidence. An obvious example of a post-hoc fallacy would be to argue that because a rooster can be heard crowing before the sun rises, the rooster’s crowing is therefore the cause of the sunrise.

Although an argument based on a faulty causality can be the result of a genuine lack of experience of the subject, or possibly ignorance, a post-hoc fallacy can also be employed by design. This can sometimes be the case in politics or in advertising when the connection between two things helps to further the cause or argument of the presenter.

Post-hoc fallacies are appealing, and often effective, because of the tendency of an audience to easily accept the idea that circumstances or events arise out of a sequence of events. This can be manipulated to serve the cause of painting something in a bad light based on its convenient occurrence prior to a negative outcome. In many situations, however, the causes may be much more complex than they appear on the surface.

The faulty causality belongs to the family of poor and deceptive arguments categorized as fallacies of logos. When presenting an argument to an audience through the appeal of logos, which is logic or reasoning, the ethical communicator will use only verifiable facts and evidence to back up their claims. One of the basics of ethical communication is the conscious avoidance of faulty or deceptive arguments, which can also include the misuse of the two classic rhetorical appeals of ethos and pathos.