What are examples of explanatory fictions?

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boomer-sooner | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Explanatory fictions are statements whose cause and effect describe the same thing.  These types of statements are generally seen in logical argument flaws.  There are several types of explanatory fiction statements, but they all amount to the same end; nothing is truly being explained by the statement or quasi-argument. 

A substitution explanatory fiction is merely rephrasing the cause and effect statement. 

"Jon bites strangers because he is hostile." 

The fact that Jon bites strangers indicates he is hostile, meaning "biting=hostility."  Therefore by substituting the phrases, the argument becomes moot:

"Jon is hostile to strangers because he is hostile."

Another is the interchangeable explanatory fiction which is stating the obvious cause as an effect.

"Jon has low test scores in math because he does not perform well at math."

The cause and effect are interchangeable and do not alter the argument when rotated.

"Jon does not perform well at math and has low test scores."

The final type is the deceptive explanatory fiction where the effect does not pertain to the cause.  These are the most difficult to pinpoint because they are often hidden in complex arguments. 

"Jon does not perform well at math.  Jon lives in a single parent household.  The household income is less than the national average.  The household income rose over the past year but Jon's performance did not change."

The fact that household income rose does not have anything to do with Jon's test scores.  The argument still did not address why Jon struggles at math.  Is it because the parent is working to raise income? Or because of a lack of materials?  The income is deceptively linked to the math scores.

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