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Cause-to-Effects Reasoning

 

Disciplines Argument > Types of reasoning > Cause-to-Effects Reasoning

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When describing a cause-effect situation, start with the cause and then add the effect or effects afterwards. This is particularly concerned with words in a single sentence, although the logic applies if spread across sentences.

Example

 

Say this Not this
The girl slapped the boy. The boy was slapped by the girl.
If you send me the money, I will send you the goods.  I will send you the goods if you send me the money.
The people kicked the ball out of the field. It hit a passing police car. A police-car was hit by a ball. It had been kicked out of the field.
Poverty is on the increase. People are desperate. Crime rates are rising. Crime rates are rising because people are desperate due to increasing poverty.

 

Discussion

Cause-and-effect reasoning is generally persuasive as it helps answer the question 'why' something happens, making a statement objective and rational rather than a blind assertion.

Starting with the cause is often linguistically easier than starting with the effect, making the sentence easier to both say and understand.

Starting with the cause builds creative tension as an expectation is set up that something will happen because of it. This can make your audience more interested in what you are saying.

There is also an assumption in this argument that one cause can have multiple effects. This can be used to show the power of a simple action.

False cause-to-effects happens when we do not like something (for example handguns) and seek to create an effect to justify our beliefs (for example that having handguns will lead to many people becoming criminals).

See also

Effects-to-cause reasoning

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