Cause and Effect Essays<br />Using consequential reasoning<br />
What we focus on with this kind of Essay?<br />The “cause” of something – the whys, motivation for action, or why an event/action/result was caused:<br />What were the causes (collective and individual) that resulted (effect) in the car accident (consequence of the cause).<br />Why did your sister lie about you to your mother?<br />Why is there war in general? Specifically?<br />
What we focus on with this kind of Essay? Cause or effect or both?<br />The result or the effect - this is the consequence of the cause(s).<br />We examine the Car accident.<br />The lie that was told to your mother<br />The war we are discussing.<br />
The cause and effect Relationship<br />In order to avoid making a fallacy argument, the weight of the cause should be equal to the weight of the effect. Here is an example of a poor, unbalanced, cause and effect argument:<br />Tensions between the Middle East and the United States (effect), are a result of the fact that the Middle East is mad at America for not believing in their religion (cause).<br />This fallacy argument relies on oversimplification of the cause and effect form: i.e. what we call Post Hock Ergo Propter Hock (Post Hoc).<br />
The cause and effect Relationship<br /><ul><li>Example of a stronger, more balanced cause and effect relationship:</li></ul>Tensions between the Middle East and the United States (effect), are a result of the fundamental cultural and social differences experienced by these two societies, as well as years and years of failed economic and political polices imposed from the “west” to the Middle East (cause).<br />
Four Types of Causes<br />Necessary (or main): What was absolutely necessary for the effect to occur: <br />I.e. – she ran the red light and this caused the accident.<br />The earthquake caused the house to fall in on itself.<br />Sufficient – this cause might be the main reason for the effect, but other factors may have been present as well:<br />I.e. – She ran the red light, which caused the accident, but other factors were present such as the fact that the light was faulty, and the weather poor.<br />I.e. The earthquake caused the house to fall in on itself, but the destruction might have been aided by the fact that the house was built before the new safety codes.<br />
Four Types of Causes - Continued<br />Contributing- a cause that contributes/aids the bringing about of the effect. A contributing factor:<br />I.e. – she ran the red light and this caused the accident; eyewitness accounts also demonstrate that she was texting at the of the accident.<br />Remote – this is a remote or far away cause that contributes to the effect. It is often far removed in time/distance from the effect and do no obvious. <br />I.e –Today’s poor relations between the Middle East and the US can be connected to when the US provided weapons and training covertly to Afghanistan (late 1970s early 1980s) so that the Afghanistans (including Ben Laden) could defeat Russia who had invaded their country. <br />
Cause-and-Effect Chain / Charlie Wilson’s War<br />The movie, Charlie Wilson’s War, presents a cause-and-effect chain where a remote cause is located and linked step by step to an ultimate effect. Example:<br />1979- Soviets invade Afghanistan and the US is afraid what this will mean if the Soviets succeed. <br /><ul><li>If the Soviets succeed, then the oil rich and politically unstable Middle East will be out of reach of the capitalist west.
US cannot be “seen” as fighting this war, and so Charlie Wilson and others devise a covert operation to divert money and weapons to help Afghanistan fight Russia.
The US gives weapons and training to the Afghanistan population, including Ben Laden.
The operation succeeds, Russia eventually falls, but at a great price – Afghanistan is devastated (infrastructure) after the war and needs money and help to rebuilt.
The US decides it no longer wants to divert funds to Afghanistan now that the immediate objective of the fall of Russia is complete.
Afghanistan is left to fend for itself and soon resentment against the US is built in the country. The US is seen as someone who used Afghanistan for their own needs only.
Afghan’s resentment towards the US is then connected to a wider argument frame of the evils of capitalism, profit, and how these qualities are against the teachings of God.
This is then connected to ……….. / which is connected to/ then the connection is:
The line of events could end at the effect of 9/11, or even to the present news of whether the United States should send more troops to Afghanistan . . . .
Charlie’s Wilson’s War Movie Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgx5WkwSJzU</li></li></ul><li>Cause and Effect Fallacies to avoid!<br />Post Hoc (cause and effect fallacy-the cause and effect are not really logically connected).- normally oversimplification <br />Guilt by association (cause and effect because of proximity of the events)<br />Ad populum(everyone else is doing it)<br />Bandwagon (jump on the bandwagon and join the people in the “know”)<br />Ad misericordiam(the use of pity) – the only reason my work is not done is that I do not feel well. You must make an exception.<br />Snob appeal only the very best people uses this product. If you use it, you must be the best!<br />Ad verecundiam(the fake expert) – double blind studies show that you will lose weight with this product (what studies? Who conducted them? How, where and why?)! Or: I am not a doctor but I play one on television. Or a doctor of philosophy endorsing a medial product.<br />