Wondrous Words #392

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I discovered a new phrase while reading the first paragraph of a book on the Book Club Librarian’s blog. The book was The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor,. Here’s the sentence and the phrase:

post hoc, ergo propter hoc: Later, in weaker moments, Lovell Hall reminded himself of the logical fallacy that young scientists so often committed: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

The author goes on to define the phrase, but by that time I had stopped to figure it out on my own. (That’s what all these weeks of searching new words has done to me.) I already knew a few things: I recognized this as a Latin phrase and I knew the word “ergo” meant therefore and “post” meant after. Now, what do the reast of the words mean. I looked it up and found out this:

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc means after this, therefore resulting from it.

The phrase is used to show that a causal relationship has erroneously been assumed from a merely sequential one. In other words, just because one event follows another event, you can’t assume that the second event was caused by the first event. It’s a pretty clear assumption, but I love that the idea has its own Latin phrase.

_______________________________

That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

This entry was posted in Wondrous Words. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wondrous Words #392

  1. Great detective work! I figured out post and ergo and felt like I should have been able to figure out hoc as well.

  2. I knew post hoc, but not the other.

  3. Julia Tomiak says:

    Wow, thanks for doing the research on this one and explaining it so fully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *