Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!

one moment please...

Appeal to Desperation

Description: Arguing that your conclusion, solution, or proposition is right based on the fact that something must be done, and your solution is "something."

Logical Form:

Something must be done.

X is something.

Therefore, X must be done.

Example #1:

These are desperate times, and desperate times call for desperate measures.  Therefore, I propose we exterminate all baby seals.  It is obvious that something must be done, and this is something.

Explanation: No reason is given for why we should exterminate all baby seals.  Perhaps the reason is that they all have a virus that will spread to the human race and kill us all, perhaps exterminating all baby seals will leave more fish for humans, or perhaps exterminating all baby seals will be a way to put an end to the clubbing of baby seals—but without these or any other reasons given, we have nothing to go on except the desperation that something must be done.

Example #2:

Chairman: We are out of money come Monday.  Any suggestions?

Felix: I suggest we take what money we do have, and go to Disney World.

Chairman: Any other suggestions?


Chairman: Since there are no other suggestions, Disney World it is.

Explanation: Desperate times don’t necessarily call for any measure over no measure.  Many times, no action is better than a bad action.  Blowing what money is left on over-priced soft drinks and what appears to be rotisserie ostrich legs, may not be a wise choice -- especially when investors are involved.

Exception: At times, especially in situations where time is limited, taking some action will be better than taking no action, and in the absence of better reasoning, the best available reason might have to do.  However, a reason, no matter how poor, should still be given -- not simply a conclusion.

Tip: Do your best to avoid situations of desperation where emotion very often takes the lead over reason.  Although not all desperate situations can be avoided, many can, by proper planning and foresight.


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

Registered User Comments

Become a Logical Fallacy Master. Choose Your Poison.

Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.

Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:

Not Much of a Reader? No Problem!

Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!

Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.

Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.

About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.