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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 legally wrong (not necessarily morally wrong).

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

Tip: Euphemisms, when used correctly, reflect good social intelligence. When in a business meeting, say, “Pardon me for a moment, I have to use the restroom,” rather than “Pardon me for a moment, I have to move my bowels.”

References:

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