False cause: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy called the false cause fallacy. This 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. The chapter deals with post hoc ergo propter hoc. One example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy that has had a great impact on public health has been the recent fear of childhood vaccines, particularly the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the concern it can cause autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBad Arguments
Subtitle of host publication50 Common Fallacies and How to Avoid Them
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781119165811
ISBN (Print)9781119165781
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cum hoc ergo propter hoc
  • Ignoring common cause
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc
  • Public health
  • Western philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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