Aug 18, 2011

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Fallacy of the Week – Appeal to force/ Fear

Appeal to Force/ Fear _ threats that negative consequences will follow if the other person does not accept their position. (argumentum ad metum)

Example:

Either A or B is true.
B is frightening or uncertain.
Therefore, A is asserted to be true.

“Millions of retired Americans are struggling financially. Unless you support public policy “X”, your Social Security benefits will be cut!”

Persuasion by fear is commonplace in both politics and marketing. Evoking emotions is often used to manipulate people into supporting a policy, candidate or product.

The appeal to force or fear is the fallacy of coercing people into a specific action by asserting a negative consequence.

Appeal to force/ fear isn’t necessarily a threat since there is no direct correlation to the cause and effect relationship of the argument.

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