(also known as: homunculus argument, infinite regress)
Description: An argument that accounts for a phenomenon in terms of the very phenomenon that it is supposed to explain, which results in an infinite regress.
Phenomenon X needs to be explained.
Reason Y is given.
Reason Y depends on phenomenon X.
Bert: How do eyes project an image to your brain?
Ernie: Think of it as a little guy in your brain watching the movie projected by your eyes.
Bert: Ok, but what is happening in the little guy in your head’s brain?
Ernie: Well, think of it as a little guy in his brain watching a movie...
Explanation: This fallacy creates an endless loop that actually explains nothing. It is fallacious reasoning to accept any explanation that creates this kind of endless loop.
Dicky: How do you know God exists?
Ralphie: I have faith that he does.
Dicky: Why do you trust your faith?
Ralphie: Because... I have faith that I can.
Explanation: Many people consider “faith” the most reliable form of epistemology, that is, logic, reason and science are a distant second when conflicts arise. But why rely on faith? In the example above, Ralphie explains how it is through, “faith in faith” that he trusts his faith in God. From this, we can extrapolate that he has faith in the faith that is used for the faith in God, and so on to an infinite regress.
To escape this regress, some have suggested that through the reasoning faculties, they trust faith -- but then the foundation of faith is reason, and of course, the foundation of reason is God (faith).