search

Argument by Emotive Language

(also known as: loaded words, loaded language, euphemisms)

Description: Substituting facts and evidence with words that stir up emotion, with the attempt to manipulate others into accepting the truth of the argument.

Logical Form:

Person A claims that X is true.

Person A uses very powerful and emotive language in the claim.

Therefore, X is true.

Example #1:

By rejecting God, you are rejecting goodness, kindness, and love itself.

Explanation: Instead of just “not believing” in God, we are  “rejecting” God, which is a much stronger term—especially when God is associated with “goodness.”

Example #2:

The Bible is filled with stories of God's magic.

Explanation: Instead of using the more accepted term “miracles,” the word “magic” is used that connotes powers associated with fantasy and make-believe in an attempt to make the stories in the Bible seem foolish.

Example #3:

I don’t see what’s wrong with engaging the services of a professional escort.

Explanation: That’s just a nice way of saying, “soliciting a hooker.”  No matter what you call it unless you live in certain parts of Nevada (or other parts of the world), it is still illegal.

Exception: Language is powerful and should be used to draw in emotions, but never at the expense of valid reasoning and evidence.

References:

Walton, D. (2006). Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation. Cambridge University Press.

Questions about this fallacy? Ask our community!

Grow Intellectually by Taking Dr. Bo's Online Courses

Dr. Bo is creating online courses in the area of critical thinking, reason, science, psychology, philosophy, and well-being. These courses are self-paced and presented in small, easy-to-digest nuggets of information. Use the code FALLACYFRIENDS to get 25% off any or all of Dr. Bo's courses.

View All Dr. Bo's Courses