Friday, October 30, 2015

Today's Logical Fallacy is....Appeal to Emotion!

(Argumentum ad Misericordiam, Playing to Emotions, Appeal to Pity, "E" for Effort, Noble Effort, Sob Story)

This fallacy occurs when someone attempts to invoke an emotional response (fear, hope, anxiety, love, surprise, guilt, shame, distress, interest, excitement, joy, anger, disgust sadness, happiness, amusement, peacefulness) instead of using a valid or compelling argument. It’s a fallacy because it’s using emotion instead of logic to make its argument. Almost all humans are affected by emotion, and that makes these appeals exceptionally common and effective (think “scare tactics”). However, they are flawed and dishonest. They also tend to unjustly trigger an emotional response from the opponent. It is important to note that emotional responses may accompany otherwise logical arguments without making them fallacies. Appeals to emotion are often the basis for censorship and bigotry.


Bill goes to hear a politician speak. The politician tells the crowd about the evils of the government and the need to throw out the people who are currently in office. After hearing the speech, Bill is full of hatred for the current politicians. Because of this, he feels good about getting rid of the old politicians and accepts that it is the right thing to do because of how he feels.

"If you care about your children's success in school, and in fact if you care about your children's future at all, you will buy this set of encyclopedias."

“If you don’t agree witchcraft is a major problem, just stop for a moment and think of all those poor moms crying bitter tears for their innocent tiny little children whose little beds and tricycles lie cold and abandoned, all because of those wicked old witches! Let’s string’em all up!”

Luke didn't want to eat his sheep's brains with chopped liver and broccoli, but his father told him to think about the poor, starving children in a third world country who weren't fortunate enough to have any food at all.

“Those poor, cute little squeaky mice are being gobbled up by mean, nasty cats that are ten times their size!”

“Think of the Children” arguments (“If evolution is taught in our schools, then our children will be turned into atheists.”)

A telephone company ad shows a small, sweet grandmother sitting patiently by the phone waiting for her loved ones to call.

A teenager argues against the family's vacation plans, and the mother responds by saying, "When you pay the bills, you can make the decisions."

A peanut butter ad suggests that "Choosy mothers choose our brand of peanut butter."

A mouthwash commercial shows two people just waking up in the morning with the words "Yech! Morning breath, the worst breath of the day."

A college student asks his professor to accept a late paper: "I've worked all weekend on this report. I know that it is past your deadline, but I have to work full-time while also attending college."

While showing a very expensive home to a young couple, the realtor says, "You owe it to yourself and your children to buy the very best."

An actor who had well-known roles as a wise father and doctor on television advises people to drink a particular brand of decaffeinated coffee if they are nervous, irritable, or in stressful situations.

A political ad shows the candidate wearing a hard hat at the steel workers' company picnic and pitching horseshoes in her back yard.

A cigarette ad shows a strong, ruggedly handsome cowboy riding alone on the range.

After making it clear that he values employee "loyalty," a supervisor asks for "volunteers" to help a fellow supervisor move on the weekend.

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