Cause/Effect Tie in With Most Readings

This is Complex Stuff!

You have a surprising amount of choice in arguing cause and effect.  In creating causal chains, which are basically links between this and that, there’s actually a dizzying variety of factors to consider.  We can make errors easily, so consider the following binary, either/or choices.

Also remember that either/or is a logical fallacy; though these either/or choices below offer comforting structure as you think about your topic, do not be limited by them.  For instance, below there’s the short term vs. long term binary.  Can’t one argue middle term, intermediate causes or effect, too?

Think of the following types of causes and effects:

indirect vs. direct (in obviousness, the ease with which we can see something leading to something)
Example: Having polio in childhood may lead one to have a heart attack sixty years later.  It may be one of many causes.

primary vs. secondary (in importance)
That childhood polio situation might be the one reason why a person has a heart attack.  That’s tough to prove, though!  Still, with a heart attack (or a car accident), it’s likely that there’s a primary cause that can be assigned.  That cause can be direct or indirect, right?

short term vs. long term (causes or effects)  This can be really tricky.  There are often both types of effects, but how are they connected?  How can you isolate your cause as leading to a certain effect?

positive vs. negative
Too often, people only focus on the negatives.  Even with a tough issue like suicide, it’s at least possible that one could argue that some positive effects could spin out of a suicide.  Though not obvious, these can be argued to exist.  We need to get beyond the obvious as we structure this blend.  It offers another chance at our topic.

If you’re getting distracted by the language of causal chains, think of synonyms.  “Causes” can be “influences,” and “effects” might be switched to “consequences.”  Maybe switching the names will help.  (Sounds like some discipline plan in high school, eh?)