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Argument to the Purse

argumentum ad crumenam

(also known as: appeal to poverty or argumentum ad lazarum, appeal to wealth, appeal to money)

Description: Concluding that the truth value of the argument is true or false based on the financial status of the author of the argument or the money value associated with the truth. The appeal to poverty is when the truth is assumed based on a lack of wealth whereas the appeal to wealth is when the truth is assumed based on an excess of wealth.

Logical Form:

Person 1 says Y is true.

Person 1 is very rich.

Therefore, Y must be true (appeal to wealth) / false (appeal to poverty).

Example #1:

Mike: Did you know that the author of the book, “Logically Fallacious,” made a fortune on the Internet?

Jon: So?

Mike: That means that this book must be awesome!

Explanation: While my financial status might impress the participants at an Amway conference, it has little to do with my knowledge of fallacies.  However, remember the argument from fallacy; just because the argument is fallacious, does not mean the conclusion is not true, dammit.

Example #2:

Simon is very poor.  Simon says that the secret to life is giving up all your material possessions, and living off the government’s material possessions.  Simon must be very enlightened.

Explanation: Just like people tend to associate wealth with wisdom, they also associate extreme poverty with wisdom.  Rich people are rich and poor people are poor—which members of those groups have wisdom does not depend on their financial status.

Exception: If one’s wealth, or lack thereof, is directly related to the truth value of an argument, then it is not a fallacy.

Mike: Did you know that the author of this book, who does extremely well financially in business, also wrote the book, “Year To Success” that was endorsed by Donald Trump?

Jon: I did not know that.

Mike: That means that his book on success is probably worth looking into!

Jon: I agree, and I am sure Bo will thank you for the cheap plug.

Tip: There is nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.

References:

This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.

Questions about this fallacy? Ask our community!

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Roughly 95% of Americans don’t appear to have an ethical problem with animals being killed for food, yet all of us would have a serious problem with humans being killed for food. What does an animal lack that a human has that justifies killing the animal for food but not the human?

As you start to list properties that the animal lacks to justify eating them, you begin to realize that some humans also lack those properties, yet we don’t eat those humans. Is this logical proof that killing and eating animals for food is immoral? Don’t put away your steak knife just yet.

In Eat Meat… Or Don’t, we examine the moral arguments for and against eating meat with both philosophical and scientific rigor. This book is not about pushing some ideological agenda; it’s ultimately a book about critical thinking.

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