Types of Causal Argument

Types of Causal Arguments

In the post for your Causal Argument task I will be happy to provide (if you request for them) specific recommendations you might find helpful in crafting Causal Arguments for your research topics. While you put your arguments together, decide what sort of framework suits your argument best:

Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
“Facebook Can Cost Us Our Jobs”
The premise is that something supposedly personal, about which our employers should have nothing to say, is nevertheless available to our employers, and to prospective employers, if we make it so. What needs to be proved is that information about our non-work lives, or information we post to Facebook about our work lives, can keep us from getting a job, from advancing in a job, or from keeping a job.

  • You may say that sounds illegal or unethical, but your objection is irrelevant to the causal argument.
  • You could examine how different professions handle social media differently (for example kindergarten teachers might be fired for indiscretions that wouldn’t cost an insurance agent her job), because your topic is still what costs the teacher and the agent their jobs.
  • You could argue that free speech should be protected if it’s true, and nobody should be fired for saying his boss cheats on his wife, but your objection is irrelevant unless there really are certain types of speech for which we can’t be fired and types for which we can (X causes Z, but Y does not cause Z).
  • You could certainly make a good argument that employers have different policies regarding social media activities of their employees (X causes Y at Company 1, while X causes Z at Company 2).

Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
“We Are the Casualties of the War on Drugs”
The premise is that the War on Drugs has been counterproductive, subjecting the nation to increased drug use and drug-related death. What needs to be proved is that government interference in drug production and distribution creates crime, interrupts quality control, causes disease, and kills users, traffickers, and innocent bystanders of the illicit drug trade.

  • You could argue that the prohibition of certain desirable substances leads inevitably to a frenzied underground and by definition criminal enterprise to meet the demand.
  • You could argue that criminals aren’t always scrupulous about the quality of the contraband they deliver and that their product often harms or kills.
  • You could point out the countless people languishing in jails for owning small amounts of something that used to be legal.
  • You might want to mention that drug use, even sanctioned use of safe prescription drugs, can be very detrimental in and of itself, but your comments would be completely irrelevant to the causal argument.
  • You might also want to say that drug dealers get what’s coming to them when they deal in illicit materials and it’s wrong to blame cops for killing them, but again, that’s irrelevant to the question of whether the War on Drugs results in death.

Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
“There’s No One Explanation for Gangs”
The premise is usually employed to refute the “common knowledge” that a single cause can be blamed for an effect. If you’ve chosen a topic about which everybody “knows” the cause and effect, your causal essay will dispute the notion that there is in fact a single cause.

  • You could produce evidence that gangs are more prevalent in public housing projects than in suburban neighborhoods, but with special care. You still won’t have identified the cause, only the location of the cause.
  • You could produce evidence that a large majority of the kids in gangs come from families without a present, positive, male role model, but with great care in how you describe the situation, to avoid using misleading shortcuts like “kids with no dads.”
  • You could describe gangs as often engaged in petty criminal activity or as pointlessly obsessed with territorial disputes, but it’s completely irrelevant to your causal argument to describe what happens after a kid is in the gang when you intend to prove why he joined it in the first place.

A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
“Failure to Prosecute Rape Causes Rape”
The premise is that rape occurs because it’s tolerated and that every resulting rape reinforces the sense that it will be tolerated. Rapes of female students on college campuses are routinely reported to campus authorities, not local police, and are kept from local law enforcement to protect the reputation of the school at the expense of the rights of the victim. What needs to be proved is that the rapes are in fact kept secret, that the assailants escape justice, and that there is local awareness that sexual assaults are not prosecuted or punished.

  • You might want to investigate how it came to be that colleges got jurisdiction for sexual assaults on campus, but it’s probably irrelevant, unless you can demonstrate that they did so deliberately in order to keep assaults secret.
  • You might want to explain what you think are contributing causes, such as the loss of bonuses or jobs for administrators on whose watch the public learned of campus rapes.
  • You would need to argue that somehow, even though the outside world never hears of these rapes, students on campus learn that assault victims are not believed or supported and that assailants are not punished. This is essential to the chain.
  • You could make a suggestion that if victims of rape refused to be “handled” by honor boards and campus judiciaries and took their cases to the local prosecutors instead they could break the chain. Arguing how to break the chain is a confirmation of why the chain continues.

Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
“Violent Games Are Not the Missing Link”
The premise of this causation fallacy argument is nobody has yet proved a causal link between a steady diet of violent video games and actual physical violence in the lives of the gamers.

  • You might be tempted to demonstrate that gamers are actually sweethearts who join the Boy Scouts and help old ladies across the street without knocking them down, but you don’t have to. You merely want to prove that they’re no more violent than players of other games.
  • In fact, you don’t need to prove anything positive of your own to produce a strong causation fallacy argument; you only need to discredit the logic, the methods, or the premises of your opponents who think they have proved causation.
  • For example, if an exhaustive study finds a strong link between kids who play violent video games and kids who kick their classmates on the playground, you argue this is mere correlation. It’s equally likely that the kids were violent first and attracted to the games as a result of their taste for aggression.
  • You could also question the methodology of the supposed proof. If a questionnaire measures hostility, the answer: “I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers” no more proves hostility than it indicates a healthy wariness of the unknown.

In-class Exercise

Consider what you know about your own Topic and Thesis.
As a Reply to this post, make 5 brief Causal Arguments derived from your own research, as I have done above.

  1. Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
  2. Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
  3. Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
  4. A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
  5. Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)

25 Responses to Types of Causal Argument

  1. littlecow24 says:

    1. Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
    Listening to specific music while doing homework causes the individual to perform better.

    2. Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
    Listening to specific music while doing homework causes an individual to perform better and can cause an individual to perform worse.

    3. Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
    Listening to lyrical music while doing homework and listening to instrumental music can cause an individual to perform better.

    4. A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
    Listening to music while doing homework causes an individual to perform better, which causes the individual to become more efficient and have less procrastination.

    5. Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
    Listening to music does not cause an individual to perform worse while working on homework.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ilovedunkinoverstarbucks says:

    1.) Ethanol is causing more CO2 in the atmosphere
    2.)Ethanol is causing earth warming, pollution, and less use of fossil fuels
    3.)Farming, equipment, and farmers contribute to climate change
    4.)Fossil fuels caused pollution which lead to discovery of ethanol which could also be causing pollution
    5.)Ethanol production does not stop our use of fossil fuels

    Like

  3. spaghettitacosforthesoul says:

    1. popularity of vegetarianism causes certain foods to become more popular in the world of health
    2. popular foods like avocados become overproduced in certain locations
    3. Mexico has the biggest export of avocados and is producing these foods is large poor neighborhoods
    3. overproduction has negative effects on the environment
    4. as the environment degrades it causes negative effects on people’s health who live in these areas.
    5. because people live in poorer neighborhoods they won’t be able to afford the medical cost of environmental degradation.
    6. the inability to afford health care decreases lifespans
    6. shorter lives= closer to death
    7. In conclusion, avocados kill people

    Like

  4. lokiofasgard24 says:

    1. Sunlight makes your skin healthier
    2. Sunlight makes your skin stronger and healthier
    3. Sunscreen and its improper use is devastating to your skin
    4. Sunscreen blocks your skin from the sun which doesn’t allow you skin to grow stronger and healthier
    5. Sunscreen does not make your skin healthier

    Like

  5. mossmacabre says:

    1. The depiction of mental illness in horror increases violence towards mentally ill people
    2. The depiction of mental illness in horror increases violence towards mentally ill people and prevents mentally ill people from seeking the proper care
    3. The depiction of mental illness in media, an abundance of neurotypical people in the writer’s room, and a lack of proper mental health education increase the likelihood of violence against mentally ill people.
    4. The portrayal of mentally ill people in horror promotes fear of mental illness, which leads to increased violence against mentally ill people.
    5. Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder do not cause a person to be more violent.

    Like

  6. levixvice says:

    1.The introduction of Spotted Lanternflies in America will spread into orchard areas to feed on.
    2. The introduction of Spotted Lanternflies in America will spread into orchard areas to feed on and reproduce in plant tree host for protection.
    3. The scarce orchard fruit trees that have been eaten away and plant trees having strange eggs laid on are from the Spotted Lanternflies, that are non-native in America.
    4. Spotted Lanternfly caused the scarcity of fruit to be eaten away, as well as repopulating their kind into plant trees that’ll spread into more land in America.
    5. The introduction of Spotted Lanternflies didn’t create the scarcity of fruit to be eaten as their are other insects or animals that would eat off the fruit from the trees.

    Like

  7. minutemen14 says:

    1. Society becoming so industrialized has rid our world of necessary physical activity.
    2. Society becoming so industrialized has rid our world of necessary physical activity and has made us unhealthy.
    3. The United States is unhealthy, inactive and does not need to move from home to get things done due to over industrialization.
    4. Society becoming so industrialized has rid our world of necessary physical activity which has forced us to go to the gym to get exercise.
    5. Over industrialization is not the cause of inactivity amongst humans.

    Like

  8. kingofcamp says:

    (X causes Y) Men having more power than women causes misogynic behavior.
    (X causes Y and Z) Men have more power than women which causes misogynic attitudes and the objectification of women’s virginity.
    (Both X and Y causes Z) Men having more power than women in the patriarchal society and playing authority causes misogynic behaviors.
    (X causes Y, which causes Z) Men historically have held more power than women which causes misogynic behavior which in turn causes women to objectify their own virginity.
    (X does not cause Y) Men having overall authority in the patriarchal society does not cause women to objectify their own virginity.

    Like

  9. Lunaduna says:

    1. Animal experimentation causes more harm to the environment than good.
    2. Animal testing can lead to the discovery of vaccines, but these vaccines may not work on humans.
    3. Humans can be harmed with the results of animal experimentation. Using animals for human diseases is not accurate at all. About 95% of drug trials on animals, actually make it to humans.
    4. Animal testing can lead to the discovery of vaccines, but could also cause a problem in our environment. Many animals after an experiment, are discarded as waste. The waste usually leads to pollution which harms humans even more!
    5. Animal experimentation is used to improve our understanding of diseases.

    Like

  10. zzbrd2822 says:

    1) Focusing on happiness causes decreased well-being.
    2) We are the victims of the pursuit of happiness.
    3) There is no one explanation for what causes happiness in life.
    4) The failure to recognize the downsides to searching for happiness, causes people to feel less fulfilled.
    5) The pursuit of happiness will not lead to a life full of satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. friendoftacos says:

    -Single cause with a single effect for my argument is that not using a contraceptive leads to an unplanned pregnancy.
    -Single cause with several effects in my argument is not having safe sex education available to people creates unplanned pregnancies and faster spreading of sexual transmitted diseases.
    -Several causes for a single effect in my argument would be that lack of access to contraceptives, lack of education and information about safe sex, and the price of contraceptives all can lead to unplanned pregnancies.
    -A causal chain in my argument would be lack of knowledge about contraceptives, leads to lack of use to contraceptives, which further leads to becoming pregnant unexpectedly.
    Causation fallacy is something in my argument is that having access to sex education does not cause people to have more sex and lead to more pregnancies.

    Like

  12. zipemup1 says:

    1. Financial illiteracy can be the result of poverty
    2. Financial illiteracy can be the result of poverty and death
    3. Poverty and death can happen without financial literacy
    4. The lack of Financial literacy can be the cause of Multi-generational poverty.
    5. Financial literacy does not cause poverty

    Like

  13. ziggy026 says:

    X causes Y
    The legal drinking age causes new 21 year olds to engage in reckless driving under the influence of alcohol at a higher rate.
    X causes Y and Z
    The legal drinking age causes new 21 year olds to engage in reckless driving under the influence of alcohol at a higher rate and more fatalities as a result.
    Both X and Y causes Z
    The legal drinking age and a lack of regulations on drunk driving causes higher fatalities.
    X causes Y which causes Z
    The legal drinking age causes new 21 year olds to drink more which causes drunk driving fatalities.
    X does not cause Y
    The legal drinking age does not cause smarter drinking decisions.

    Like

  14. imaspookyghost says:

    1. Single Cause with Single Effect ( x causes y )
    The correct type of training for an athletes muscle fiber build will result in more improvement of the athletes times.
    2. If an athlete does all of the optional exercises on top of the mandatory exercises he/she will get into shape faster, and will be more tired than those that do not do all the optional exercises.
    3. Faster basic runs and faster workout times are both effects of having a faster race time.
    4. Overtraining causes injury, which causes mental stress on the determined athlete.
    5. Running faster basic runs does not make you faster. Basic runs are meant for recovery not for making you work harder.

    Like

  15. frogs02 says:

    Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
    Being obese can cause negative health effects.

    Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
    Being obese can cause negative health effects and is one of the top causes of cancer.

    Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
    Being obese, having negative health effects, and having cancer will lead to a shorter life, and death will catch up on you.

    A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
    Being obese can cause negative health effects which can cause cancer.

    Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
    Being obese does not always lead to death.

    Like

  16. chickendinner says:

    1: Online communication weakens ability to socially interact with people in person.
    2: Social media hinders ability to interact with people in person and limits the depth of interpersonal communication.
    3: Online communication and stresses of modern life weaken ability to socially interact with people in person.
    4: Digital communication causes people to forget the nuances of face-to-face interaction, making it harder for them to interact with people in person.
    5: Social media does not weaken people’s ability to interact in person.

    Like

  17. Lily4Pres says:

    1. Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
    Stress can result in bad athletic performances.
    2. Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
    Emotional intelligence will result in how well someone can control their stress and anxiety.
    3. Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
    Stress and anxiety will result in poor athletic performances.
    4. A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
    A low level of emotional intelligence will lead to more stress and anxiety, which will cause worse athletic performances.
    5. Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
    Stress/anxiety does not cause a low level of emotional intelligence.

    Like

  18. strawberryfields4 says:

    1) Educators, who lack proper nutrition training, preach the importance of a low calorie diet to impressionable young students, causing eating disorders.
    2) The current health education curriculum causes students to fear calories.
    3) The hazardous dietary advice given in health classrooms, along with the constant glorification of diet foods, causes students to develop disordered eating habits.
    4) The misguided nutrition advice taught to children in school causes eating disorders, resulting in an abundance of serious health issues.
    5) Glorifying a low calorie diet as a healthy lifestyle to children does not aid in combating childhood obesity.

    Like

  19. sunshinegirl457 says:

    1. Recidivism of prisoners can be lowered by using yoga as a rehabilitation method in prisons to ease stress levels.
    2. Recidivism of prisoners can be lowered by using yoga as a rehabilitation method in prisons to ease stress levels and stabilize mental states.
    3. Recidivism of prisoners can be lowered by using yoga as a rehabilitation method in prisons to ease stress levels, stabilize mental states, and give a deeper meaning to spirituality for individuals to feel more connected.
    4. Yoga for prisoners can result in better health, which causes lowered stress levels, which stabilizes mood/mental state, which can lower the rate of recidivism in individuals.
    5. Yoga does not cause a complete change of personality in an individual, but it can help with these factors.

    Like

  20. calamariii says:

    1. Poverty causes people to buy lottery tickets
    2. Poverty can lead people to find immoral ways out of poverty and to buy lottery tickets
    3. Poverty and advertisements of a better life can cause people to buy lottery tickets
    4. Poverty causes people to get a false hope to leave poverty by winning the lottery which causes them to buy lottery tickets
    5. Poverty does not lead into people buying lottery tickets

    Like

  21. 1. Meditation causes overall improved mental health
    2. Meditation causes overall improved mental health, increase your self awareness, and helps you to build skills to manage stress
    3. Practicing mediation and being mindful can be extremely helpful to managing negative emotions
    4. Meditation causes a more tranquil mind which causes people to manage stress and negative emotions better
    5. Medication is not always a perfect solution to mental health problems

    Like

  22. comatosefox says:

    Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y) More gear given to players increases the chances of injuries.
    Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z) Loosening women’s lacrosse rules would not only allow for longer uninterrupted game play as well as the possibility for more injuries.
    Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z) Changing women’s lacrosse to be more similar to men’s by adding gear and loosening the rules would cause more injuries to occur.
    A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z) More regulations in women’s lacrosse result in more whistle blowing due to fouls which causes girls to have to react accordingly in order to defend and retrieve the ball.
    Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y) Making women’s lacrosse more like men’s does not make girls more willing to play.

    Like

  23. tyblicky2001 says:

    1. The lack of support for POC can be a cause of depression
    2. The lack of support for POC causes depression and prevents their ability to remedy depresssion
    3. The lack of support and not having the ability to get the help they need can cause depression
    4. Most families of POC overlook and don’t take mental health seriously, which can cause depression
    5. Ignoring mental health doesn’t make depression go away.

    Like

  24. RowanAnnouncer says:

    Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
    The largest coffee companies are threatening the nature of the world.

    Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
    The largest coffee companies are threatening the nature of the world and negatively impacting the lives of everyone involved.

    Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
    The largest coffee companies along with the mindless consumer are threatening the nature of the world.

    A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
    The largest coffee companies cause environmental detriment, which causes an irreversible carbon footprint.

    Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
    The largest coffee companies holding a monopoly over smaller but environmentally friendly companies does not cause these smaller companies to go out of business, thus eliminating the possibility of environmentally friendly coffee production.

    Like

  25. toastedflatbread22 says:

    1. Puppets cause humans to feel sympathy and learn important lessons.
    2. Puppets communicate to audiences and challenge the human brain to consider real-world topics.
    3. The inanimate world that puppets exist in combined with the puppet’s communicative abilities challenge audiences to consider real-world situations.
    4. Puppets view the real world through a unique lens which allows them to communicate to real-world audiences about relatable topics.
    5. Puppets do not cause a disconnect between the inanimate and real worlds in a theatrical setting, in fact, they strengthen the bond and are thus able to communicate to human audiences.

    Like

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