Circular Argument

circular argument

[¦sər·kyə·lər ′är·gyə·mənt]
An argument that is not valid because it uses the theorem to be proved or a consequence of that theorem that is not proven.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Circular Argument


(Latin, circulus in demonstrando or petitio principi ) a logical fallacy in which a consequent of the hypothesis of an argument is used as one of its premises, that is, a proposition is used for whose proof the same hypothesis must be used as a premise. Besides those trivial cases where the premise coincides with the hypothesis or is a reformulation of it, “masked” circularities are possible, in which a premise is equivalent to the hypothesis but does not resemble it in formulation. A circular “proof” is not a proof of its hypothesis; however, as a derivation of the hypothesis from an equivalent premise, it may play an important methodological role, namely, in revealing the equivalence. Examples of this are the attempts to prove Euclid’s fifth, or parallel, postulate using the theorem that the sum of the angles of any triangle equals 180°; the theorem, in turn, is proved by means of the fifth postulate.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It becomes a circular argument - they need profile to claim the award, but need awards, and recognition, to get the profile.
So you can see the circular argument there." No timescale for the completion of the project reports were disclosed and a redeveloped Garrison Lane structure would be multi-purpose.
Such an approach to science leads to a circular argument in which some researchers argue that music discrimination predicts phonological skills, which in turn predicts reading ability and that reading ability implies phonological skills and so on.
Susheel Kirpalani, an attorney for Lehman's Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, told the court that Barclay's was making a 'circular argument' and that Lehman was only in court now because new evidence showed the deal had gone wrong.
"They have to be creative and innovative with their sponsorship but it is a circular argument in that we have to have to get the broadcast and terrestrial television rights to make it attractive."
"They have to be creative and innovative with their sponsorship, but it is a circular argument in that we have to have to get the broadcast and terrestrial television rights to make it attractive."
Much of the time, unfortunately, this judgment seems to be based on circumstantial evidence and even circular argument.
This seems to me to be a circular argument rather than a reconsideration of the aesthetics of modernism in a historical light....; (3) establishing "special modernisms (regional modernism, women's modernism, Harlem Renaissance modernism, and so forth) separate from an implicit "real" modernism.
That, however, is a circular argument that creates a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Indeed, the same circular argument took place during the current discussion about universal childhood immunization: Wait to make the recommendation until the supply and infrastructure are already in place, or do it now in order to spur such progress?
The difficulties of this approach are apparent throughout the book as Martinez-Torres considers everything from indigenous culture and ethnic identity to successful social struggles with the state to be a form of "capital." The result is a somewhat circular argument for the book's theoretical conclusion.
More recently, as most of the visible leaders of fundamentalism have in fact been southern, the media collectively presents a circular argument: The South is backward because it is fundamentalist, and it is fundamentalist because it is backward.