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Appeal to flattery

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Cogito ergo sum
Logic and rhetoric
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L'Oreal. Because you're worth it.
—One of the most well-known appeals to flattery in advertising.

An appeal to flattery is a logical fallacy that occurs when a debater tries to compliment people into an opinion.

The fallacy is an emotional appeal and an informal fallacy.

Alternate names[edit]

  • appeal to vanity
  • argumentum ad vanitatem
  • apple polishing
  • sucking up


The argument takes this form:

  • Person A tells a premise that person B doesn't like.
  • To make person B more favorable towards this premise, person A attempts to flatter them by telling they are intelligent/attractive/otherwise desirable.
  • If person B falls for this, they agree with A.


Someone toadies someone else in order to appeal to them and make them more favorable towards a premise that they would not like otherwise. This kind of argumentation makes use of the Dunning-Kruger effect among other things if used successfully. It is virtually always fallacious, because it never looks into facts, but only exploits the basic human need for appreciation.


External links[edit]