There are times when people make the mistake of circular reasoning, that is, they provide a premise or premises that are, effectively, the same as the conclusion. A very obvious example is 'I have failed my exams because I have failed my exams'. No one is foolish enough to actually use such an example. However, we can use different words to say the same thing. Hence, sometimes, people argue in ways that are circular because they present as their conclusion a claim that is the same, logically, as their premise, even though the wording is different. For example 'Socialism is not a workable economic system, because an economic system in which the means of production is collectively owned cannot work' is circular because the claim 'Socialism is not a workable economic system' means the same thing as an economic system in which the means of production is collectively owned cannot work'—you can substitute the word 'socialism' for 'an economic system in which the means of production is collectively owned' and not change the meaning of the second claim.
When making your link from premise to conclusion you are relying upon the internal connection between subject and the predicate in the conclusion claim, but you must not have the same connection in a single premise. Instead, you must have the separate elements of the conclusion (the subject; and the predicate) each appearing in different claims that serve as premises. Basically, you can only use a claim once within its own argument, not twice; but the constituent components of each claim can appear (and indeed should appear) more than once.
Was this article helpful?