Appeal to Flattery

Also Known as: Apple Polishing, various “colorful” expressions

Description:

An Appeal to Flattery is a fallacy of the following form:

1) Person A is flattered by person B.

2) Person B makes claim X.

3) Therefore X is true.

The basic idea behind this fallacy is that flattery is presented in the place of evidence for accepting a claim. This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because flattery is not, in fact, evidence for a claim. This is especially clear in a case like this: “My Bill, that is a really nice tie. By the way, it is quite clear that one plus one is equal to forty three.

Example #1

Might I say that this is the best philosophy class I’ve ever taken. By the way, about those two points I need to get an A.

Example #2

“That was a wonderful joke about AIDS boss, and I agree with you that the damn liberals are wrecking the country. Now about my raise…”

Example #3

That was a singularly brilliant idea. I have never seen such a clear and eloquent defense of Plato’s position. If you do not mind, I’ll base my paper on it…. provided that you allow me a little extra time past the deadline to work on it.

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Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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