Circular Definition


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Circular Definition

 

(Latin, circulus in definiendo), a logical fallacy, in which a certain concept (or term) A is defined by means of another concept (term) B, although B, in turn, cannot be defined without using A. Such a “circular chain of terms” may consist of more than two links—and the more terms it contains, the more hidden the circularity may be. Like circular argument, circular definition is a variant of the general concept of vicious circle (Latin, circulus vitiosus). Circular “definitions,” since they do not reduce the definiendum to the definiens, are not, strictly speaking, definitions. It should be kept in mind, however, that the mere mention of the definiendum in the definiens does not necessarily produce circularity; examples of this are definitions by induction.

IU. A. GASTEV

References in periodicals archive ?
Such a circular definition is highly illogical in any context.
It's a bit of a circular definition, but rather than have a difficult and ultimately inadequate definition of pops, Manning offers a way to think about pops music that is based on actual programming.
Art, say many, is that which artists produce--a perfectly circular definition.
8) Such a circular definition invites divergent interpretations - as is evident by the Darden case itself.
Despite its breadth, the glossary suffers from some circular definitions, for example, defining "ozone depletion" as "depletion of ozone .
He then shows that circular definitions of a kind commonly thought to be benign have inferentially circular truth-conditions and so are malign by Humberstone's test.
It is here that I would locate the circular definitions referred to in my essay title.