the logical fallacy on inferring from beneficial consequences

stultissimus

Member
Hebrew
Could anyone please help me use the verb infer correctly? Is it
1. "We should avoid the logical fallacy on inferring from beneficial consequences on causes and motivations"?
or rather
2. "We should avoid the logical fallacy on inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"?
or something completely different?
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My suggestions

    "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring from beneficial consequences the idea that motivations and causes exist"?

    "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"?

    However there is a logical inconsistency in the above sentences. The word 'consequence' implies a cause so I think a rewrite is necessary.

    Can you explain at greater length what you mean? Perhaps give an actual example.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It should be '... fallacy of inferring ...'
    You infer a conclusion from the evidence, using that word order.
    He inferred that she was pregnant from the maternity dress she was wearing.
     

    stultissimus

    Member
    Hebrew
    Thanks, the 'of' is of course a typo. So the right one is "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"...
    Biffo, consequences cannot tell us logically anything about causes. For example, the fact that the video my grandmother published on youtube awarded her with international fame does not logically mean that she published it in order to gain international fame (she would probably have avoided it if she knew what is going to happen).
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks, the 'of' is of course a typo. So the right one is "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"...
    Biffo, consequences cannot tell us logically anything about causes. For example, the fact that the video my grandmother published on youtube awarded her with international fame does not logically mean that she published it in order to gain international fame (she would probably have avoided it if she knew what is going to happen).
    You can infer that there is some cause if you use the word consequence. A consequence, by definition, is something that follows from a cause.

    Maybe:

    "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring specific causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"

    or

    "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring specific/deliberate intent or motivation from beneficial consequences"
     

    stultissimus

    Member
    Hebrew
    oh, so when I write "inferring causes", you wouldn't read it as "inferring what these causes are", but rather "inferring that some causes exist"??? Because if this is the case, I'm moving in the wrong direction....
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I find "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences" to be both logically and grammatically correct. Consequences do, of course, have causes, but it is illogical to infer what those causes were from the observed outcomes. Many years ago the incidence of heart disease in Japan increased approximately in parallel with the increasing use of colour television. It would be possible to infer that the use of colour TV was the cause of this adverse consequence. In reality it was due to dietary and societal change. I think that this is the sort of logical fallacy stultissimus is describing.

    I would, however, agree that 'consequences' is not the best word here. I would prefer "...
    from beneficial outcomes".
     
    There are lots of confusions here: The second statement said,

    2. "We should avoid the logical fallacy o[f] inferring causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"?
    It surely cannot simply mean that there is some fallacy in saying this consequence has some cause or other. This *seems* to be what Biffo says in post #8. But in post #5 he gave a correct formulation:

    "We should avoid the logical fallacy of inferring specific causes and motivations from beneficial consequences"

    Andy (post #7) seems to be going in the correct direction:
    Consequences do, of course, have causes, but it is illogical to infer what those causes were from the observed outcomes.
    The problem is in getting specific about cause.

    In a larger sense, of couse, we make inference about causes all the time; that's the problem with Stultissimus' original sentences.

    The best approach is that of Andy: To explain 'infer,' take a simple example. The larger statements are a tangle of confusions. If I see you come into the house soaking wet, I infer that it's raining outside. That is a causal inference, by the way. Further, in scene two, I look out the window and it's pouring rain. You come in quite dry. I infer you either had an umbrella or came in a car, or somehow protected yourself from the rain (assuming you were out). Notice that is inferring from a 'beneficial consequence' to a cause, and it's perfectly legitimate (plausible), though not logically airtight.





    oh, so when I write "inferring causes", you wouldn't read it as "inferring what these causes are", but rather "inferring that some causes exist"??? Because if this is the case, I'm moving in the wrong direction....
     
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