Fallacy of the Week – Appeal to Pity

Appeal to Pity _ coercing someone to accept a position by creating sympathy for those who hold the same position. (argumentum ad misericordiam)

Example:

“These men have devoted their entire lives researching “X”. Some have lost everything they had for it. Their conclusions must not be discarded simply by a lack of evidence.”

The appeal to pity attempts to persuade people to accept a position using emotions like sympathy, rather than making a factual statement.

This type of argument is fallacious because our emotions are not a good means of determining truth; emotions can obscure, rather than clarify, issues. We should base our beliefs upon reasonable evidence, rather than emotion.

Emotions may identify what’s important to us, even if it’s not true. That’s why it’s important to be able to communicate logically.

 

Next Week:

Fallacy of the Week – Begging the Question

 

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