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argumentum ad misericordiam

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


L ogic [Latin, argument to pity] An argument making use of an appeal to the pity, sympathy, and compassion of the audience in order to establish its conclusion. This widely employed argument is logically fallacious because it puts an emotional burden on the audience rather than concentrating on the argument itself. The fact that an argument is accepted out of pity or charity does not entail that it is logically strong. Argument is a matter of reason. Often, an argument ad misericordiam is offered to sway an audience in defiance of factual evidence and sound reasoning. “The argumentum ad misericordiam is the fallacy committed when pity is appealed to for the sake of getting a conclusion accepted, where the conclusion is concerned with a question of fact rather than a matter of sentiment.” Copi, Introduction to Logic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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