Fallacy Summary and application mgt/350

Essay by shanbananaA+, March 2006

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"In order to understand what a fallacy is, one must understand what an argument is" (Labossiere, 1995, para. 1). An argument consists of one conclusion and one or more premises. A premise is a sentence that is either true or false while a conclusion is the support of the claim being made. This paper will briefly describe appeal to emotion fallacy, hasty generalization fallacy, and red herring fallacy and explain the significance of these fallacies as it pertains to critical thinking as well as their general application to decision-making.

Appeal to Emotion Fallacy

Appeal to emotion occurs when the arguer uses emotional appeals to persuade a listener to his or her way of thinking. This fallacy can appeal to pride, pity, fear, hate, vanity, or sympathy of the listener. This fallacy is most often used in politics and advertising, this appeal to emotion calls for the listener to believe in the claims by the speaker based upon his or her emotions toward the speaker or the topic being discussed.

This fallacy can be found in many political debates and speeches throughout time, especially from candidates running for higher offices. In 1952, the campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower was an expensive and successful campaign. "The slogans "Time for a change" and "A Crusade" were present to give vent to the mood of the country..." (DeSantis, 1953, p. 131). Appealing to the emotions of the public landed Dwight D. Eisenhower a landslide victory in his campaign.

"Certainly, emotions play a role in our moral decision making" (Pluhar, 1995, p. 171). Using emotions as a basis for an argument can be damaging and disruptive. However, if used to help motivate an individual or groups of individuals, this can be a very valuable tool. For example, an advertisement for beer will use beautiful, sophisticated...