Cause Ineffectual

The Lived-Experience Fallacy

Let's say I made the argument that smoking causes cancer, and that I backed up this argument with a mountain of scientific data. Now suppose that someone responded to all this with the following: "But my grandpa Bob smoked cigarettes all his life and never developed cancer! So smoking doesn't cause cancer after all!"

Would you be convinced by this reply? I hope not. Smoking is a contributory cause of cancer: those who smoke have a much higher likelihood of developing cancer than those who don't because the act of smoking contributes something toward that outcome, even though that outcome doesn't always happen. So just because some smokers don't develop cancer doesn't mean that smoking plays no...


Tim Hsiao  is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Arkansas Grantham.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #60, Spring 2022 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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