By Douglas N. Walton
Entice pity has usually been exploited with awesome luck as a misleading tactic of argumentation, lots in order that it has usually been taken care of as a fallacy. utilizing a case examine process, the writer examines examples of appeals to pity and compassion in actual arguments in an effort to classify, research, and evaluation the categories of arguments utilized in those appeals. one of the instances studied are the arguable use of "poster teenagers" within the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy and the "baby incubators tale" deployed by way of a public family members enterprise to persuade the choice to ship U.S. forces into Kuwait throughout the Gulf conflict. as well as the analyses of those and different case reviews, this e-book offers, for the 1st time, special instructions and helpful standards with which to spot, research, and assessment cases of the advert misericordiam argument.
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Additional resources for Appeal to Pity: Argumentum Ad Misericordiam
For example, even if a defendant in a murder case admits that he killed the victim, he can claim to be not guilty of murder on grounds of insanity. In effect, insanity, often defined in law as not knowing the nature and quality of the act, functions as a kind of excuse that lessens or absolves responsibility for an action. The presentation of an excuse as a type of argument, in such a case involves a shifting of the burden of proof. For example, in law when a charge of murder is made, the proponent who brought the charge forward has the burden or proving it (beyond a reasonable doubt).
Either way, the argument finds a receptive audience whose feelings it would appeal to compellingly. This same case was previously cited by Werkmeister (1948, p. 59), who described the argumentum ad misericordiam as an appeal to both emotions of pity and sympathy. Another example (Little, Wilson, and Moore, 1955, p. 5: The attorney for the defense may, for example, bring into the courtroom the poorly-dressed wife of the defendant, surrounded by pathetic children in rags, and thus say in effect to the jury, "If you send my client to the electric chair, you make a widow of this poor woman and orphans of these innocent children.
The ninth edition of Copi and Cohen (1994, p. " Thus the predominant designation of the argument is as appeal to pity. But as you can see, there is considerable variation, with sympathy and compassion being featured prominently in many of the accounts, and even in some cases, being used as the leading designation of the argument type. How the textbooks treat the argumentam ad misericordiam as fallacious or not falls into three categories. Those that treat it as inherently or generally fallacious are Castell (1935), Clark and Welsh (1962), Engel (1982), and Hurley (1991), Michalos defines the fallacy as an irrelevant appeal to pity, but leaves open the possibility of nonfallacious appeals to pity.
Appeal to Pity: Argumentum Ad Misericordiam by Douglas N. Walton