Appeal to Ridicule

In Robert Arp, Steven Barbone & Michael Bruce (eds.), Bad Arguments. Wiley. pp. 118–120 (2018-05-09)
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy, appeal to ridicule. An appeal to ridicule is closely related to an ad hominem argument because both attack the person. There is a similarity between an appeal to ridicule and an appeal to emotion in that both attempt to bypass rational assessment of a point of view and elicit an emotional reaction from the audience. An appeal to ridicule may be an attempt to elicit humor at another's expense, or it may be an attempt to elicit enmity, playing on the fears and prejudices of the group. The difference between a reductio ad absurdum and an appeal to ridicule is that the former uses good evidence while the latter does not. Perhaps the best way to avoid this fallacy is to cultivate an attitude of respect for other points of view.

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Gregory Bock
University of Texas At Tyler

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