Argumentum ad baculum

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of the series on

Logic and rhetoric

Icon logic.svg
Key articles
General logic
Bad logic

A argumentum ad baculum (Latin for "argument to the stick") is a logical fallacy in which the arguer threatens their debate opponent with real or threatened violent or nonviolent coercion.

The fallacy is an appeal to fear, an argument from consequences, and an informal fallacy.

Contents

[edit] Alternate names

  • argument from force
  • argument from power

[edit] Form

The argument takes this form:

  • If person A acknowledges proposition X as true / false, then action Y will be taken against person A.
  • If Y occurs, A suffers negative consequences.
  • Therefore, X is not true / not false.

[edit] Non-fallacious form

As the argumentum ad baculum is an appeal to consequences, it's not fallacious if the argument is based on avoiding consequences rather than any truth value:

  • If you do X you will suffer punishment Y
  • You don't want to suffer punishment Y
  • Therefore you shouldn't do X

[edit] Explanation

The danger in holding a premise is irrelevant to the truth of that premise. This argument doesn't make any statement as to whether X is right or wrong, or whether punishment Y should follow action X, only that it's probably not something you want to do.

[edit] Examples

  1. If I don't think the boss is nice, I will be fired.
  2. I don't want to be fired.
  3. Therefore, I will think the boss is nice.

[edit] Spanish Inquisition

A modified form of the argument was otherwise known as the Inquisitorial Question, and took this form:

  • If person A denies being a heretic, then we will torture A.
  • Therefore, A is a heretic.

It proved very useful for getting almost all the Inquisition's targets to admit they were heretics.

[edit] Nothing to do with

The actual baculum[wp] in animal anatomy. As such, this is not "Argument to the penis bone", especially since humans lack said bone.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Community
Tools
support