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 ?
Bruce Hoffman defines terrorism as "the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change." (17) If one assumes for a moment that this was the accepted definition of terrorism, then the addition of cyber to this term results in a simple, though circular definition: cyberterrorism is the use of cyber to commit terrorism.
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."
Art, say many, is that which artists produce--a perfectly circular definition. What is an artist?
(It might be suggested that this is a circular definition. Shared frames create communities who are defined as those who share frames.)
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.
While the Darden decision has implications for a number of other federal statutes, it has unique implications for purposes of ERISA, which among other things vests in an employee certain rights with respect to any covered employee benefit plan in which such employee participates.(6) The term "employee" defines the universe of individuals who are entitled to the protections afforded by ERISA.(7) ERISA defines an employee as "an individual employed by an employer."(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 ...", and using the words "bioregion" and "conservation" in definitions of "bioregionalism" and "conservationism", respectively.
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.