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Appeal to emotion is a potential fallacy which uses the manipulation of the recipient's emotions, rather than valid logic, to win an argument. Also this kind of thinking may be evident in one who lets emotions and/or other subjective considerations influence one's reasoning process. This kind of appeal to emotion is a type of red herring and encompasses several logical fallacies, including:
- Appeal to consequences
- Appeal to fear
- Appeal to flattery
- Appeal to pity
- Appeal to ridicule
- Appeal to spite
- Wishful thinking
- Appeal to ignorance
Fallacies introduce a failure to support a claim, and thus limit the possibility of an ideology to be recognized as credible. The appeal to emotion fallacy uses emotions as the basis of an argument's position. Therefore, factual evidence does not support the major ideas endorsed by the elicitor of the argument.
Instead of facts, persuasive language is used to develop the foundation of an appeal to emotion-based argument. Thus, the validity of the premises that establish such an argument does not prove to be verifiable.
Use in psychotherapy
Conclusively, the appeal to emotion fallacy presents a perspective intended to be superior to reason. Appeals to emotion are intended to draw visceral feelings from the acquirer of the information. And in turn, the acquirer of the information is intended to be convinced that the statements that were presented in the fallacious argument are true; solely on the basis that the statements may induce emotional stimulation such as fear, pity and joy. Though these emotions may be provoked by an appeal to emotion fallacy, substantial proof of the argument is not offered, and the argument's premises remain invalid.
Other types of fallacies may also overlap with or constitute an appeal to emotion, including:
- Ad hominem attacks
- Guilt by association
- Misleading vividness
- Slippery slope
- Two wrongs make a right (if arguing for revenge)
- Straw man
- "We do this for children"
- "Support our troops"
- Kimball, Robert H. “A Plea for Pity.” Philosophy and Rhetoric. Vol. 37, Issue 4. (2004): 301-16. Print.
- Wheater, Isabella “Philosophy.” Vol.79, Issue 308. (2004): 215-45. Print.
- Moore, Brooke N., and Kenneth Bruder. Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.
- About.com: Appeals to emotion index
- Fallacy Files: Emotional appeal
- Nizkor: Appeal to emotion
- Emotion Theory in Advertising
Template:Red Herring Fallacy
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