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 ?
But putting it that way is a bit of a circular definition, isn't it?
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.
The court was asked to determine if an insurance salesman were an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of coverage under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which, in the court's opinion, also used a circular definition of "employee.
Though we might take the stable elements under a circular definition to determine an extension and an anti-extension, the revision theory does not generally do this.
Art, say many, is that which artists produce--a perfectly circular definition.
It might be suggested that this is a circular definition.
This shortened version avoids a circular definition (a computer is a computer), and it also avoids substituting a synonym for the noun to prevent the appearance of 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.
We get many lists offering circular definitions of those things which they are adduced to define.
It is here that I would locate the circular definitions referred to in my essay title.