False cause: Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy: ‘false cause’. In general, the false cause fallacy occurs when the “link between premises and conclusion depends on some imagined causal connection that probably does not exist”. There are three different ways an argument can commit the false cause fallacy: post hoc ergo propter hoc; cum hoc ergo propter hoc; and ignoring common cause. Like the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, this fallacy is guilty of trying to establish a causal connection between two events on dubious grounds. The way to avoid committing the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy is to study correlative relationships more carefully in order to decipher if an actual causal relationship exists rather than assuming the latter follows from the former.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBad Arguments
Subtitle of host publication50 Common Fallacies and How to Avoid Them
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781119165811
ISBN (Print)9781119165781
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Correlative relationships
  • Cum hoc ergo propter hoc
  • Dubious grounds
  • False cause
  • Western philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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