Propaganda Guidelines: Causal Oversimplication vs. Inconceivability

This is the another in a series of Coaching Tips pointing out important distinctions made in the new Propaganda Guide. This one deals with Causal Oversimplification and Inconceivability in Section A.

Causal Oversimplification has some similarity with Inconceivability. The Causal Oversimplifier thinks that a particular outcome can be traced to just one source. So this person cannot imagine another cause of the problem. Inconceivability, on the other hand, is the technique of the person who cannot imagine a different result.

Example of Causal Oversimplification Rather Than Inconceivability
Don’t smoke and you won’t ever get cancer.
Comment: The speaker cannot imagine that someone who doesn’t smoke would ever get cancer.

Example of Inconceivability Rather Than Causal Oversimplification
Jack really does not have to concern himself with cancer. After all, he’s never smoked a day in his life.
Comment: The speaker implies that smoking is the only cause of cancer. However, what he explicitly states is that he cannot imagine Jack getting cancer (the result) since he doesn’t smoke (the avoided cause).

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