Affirming The Consequent

Affirming the consequent is a term taken from mathematics/logic that exists as a test of "proof" of a conclusion derived from a logical argument.

For instance, you can start with a statement that "John owns his own business and he is wealthy." From this statement we derive two statements: A) John is wealthy and B) John owns a business. From these two statements we might derive a conclusion C) John is wealthy because he owns a business.

However, if we critically examine this argument we realize that conclusion C is not a valid conclusion because we know from experience that not all wealthy people own businesses and and not all business owners are wealthy. By examining statements A and B we can understand from experience that there is no direct link between being wealthy and owning a business This is the nature of affirming the consequent; being certain that the conclusion reached is actually valid based on original statements. When examining research, arguments, or conclusions it is important to examine how conclusions were reached to evaluate the validity of the results.

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