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Encyclopedia > Argumentum ad baculum

Argumentum ad baculum (Latin: argument to the cudgel or appeal to the stick), also known as appeal to force, is an argument where force, coercion, or the threat of force, is given as a justification for a conclusion. One participates in this type of argument when one points out the dire consequences of holding a contrary position. Latin is an ancient Indo-European language. ... In physics, a force is anything that causes a free body with mass to accelerate. ... Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to act by employing threat of harm (usually physical force, sometimes other forms of harm). ... A conclusion can have various specific meanings depending on the context. ...

Contents


As a logical argument

A fallacious logical argument based on argumentum ad baculum generally has the following argument form: In logic, an argument is an attempt to demonstrate the truth of an assertion called a conclusion, based on the truth of a set of assertions called premises. ... In logic, the argument form or test form of an argument results from replacing the different words, or sentences, that make up the argument with letters, along the lines of algebra; the letters represent logical variables. ...

If x does not accept that P, then Q.
Q is a threat or attack on x.
Therefore, P is true.

In other words, This is right because if you do not believe it, you will be beaten up.


This form of argument is a logical fallacy, because the attack Q may not necessarily reveal anything about the truth value of the premise P. This fallacy has been identified since the Middle Ages by many philosophers. This is a special case of argumentum ad consequentiam, or "appeal to consequences". In philosophy, the term logical fallacy properly refers to a formal fallacy: a flaw in the structure of a deductive argument which renders the argument invalid. ... In logic, a truth value, or truth-value, is a value indicating to what extent a statement is true. ... Look up Premise in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Premise (from the Latin praemisus, meaning placed in front) can refer to: A premise (also premiss in British usage) is a statement presumed true within the context of a discourse, especially of a logical argument. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam (Latin: argument to the consequences), is an argument that concludes a premise (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. ...


Examples

  • "Everybody knows that communism is bad. Senator Joseph McCarthy is hunting communists down. If I dissented to his policy, I'd be supporting the communism, and therefore I'd be anti-American. I am a good American citizen, therefore McCarthy's policy is correct.'"
  • "Just now as you and I were playing pool, I'm sure I saw you sink the cue ball in the side pocket, while no one else was near the table. When I pointed this out, you disagreed, saying that the ball had stopped on the table, then a spectator bumped the table and knocked the ball into the pocket. Next, you grabbed me by the collar, threw me against the wall, and said, 'Didn't you see that?' Since you threatened me with bodily harm, you must be right; you didn't sink the cue ball."

This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Joseph Raymond McCarthy Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908–May 2, 1957) was a Republican Senator from the U.S. state of Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. ...

As a non-logical argument

A similar but non-logical argument has roughly the following form:

If x does not accept that P, then Q.
Q is a threat or attack on x.
Therefore, x should accept P to avoid Q.

This is not a logical argument in the technical sense since the conclusion uses non-logical or quasi-logical words such as "should" and "accept" and does not answer whether P is true. Instead, this is a suggestion that one can benefit from a belief or apparent-belief in P, even if P is logically false. Whether such a suggestion is acceptable or should be followed is beyond the scope of logic, as it involves subjective issues such as practicality or ethics, especially if P is a moral position such as "R is ethical". Some pragmatists claim that many human beliefs are based on these types of arguments. In logic, an argument is an attempt to demonstrate the truth of an assertion called a conclusion, based on the truth of a set of assertions called premises. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, (but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. ... Ethics (from Greek ἦθος meaning custom) is the branch of axiology, one of the four major branches of philosophy, which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to distinguish that which is right from that which is wrong. ... Pragmatism is a school of philosophy which originated in the United States in the late 1800s. ...


Examples

  • "I support the war: if I did not, I would be ostracized from the community"
(Many young people in the United States who opposed the Vietnam War were told that they should not hold such a view, because they would face discrimination from potential employers. This argument gives good reasons to keep an opinion to oneself, but does not give an argument as to why an anti-war stance is incorrect.)
C-3P0: He made a fair move. Screaming about it won't help you.
Han Solo: (interrupting) Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3P0: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
C-3P0: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookiee win.
The implication is that this "new strategy" may involve ignoring the rules of the game, and discounting the effect of moves that would lead to success.

Combatants Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) United States of America South Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand the Philippines Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) National Liberation Front Strength ~1,200,000 (1968) ~420,000 (1968) Casualties South Vietnamese dead: 230,000 South Vietnamese wounded: 300,000 US dead: 58,191... This article is about discrimination in the social science sense. ... This movie poster for Star Wars depicts many of the films important elements, such as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, X-Wing and Y-Wing fighters Star Wars, retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981 (see note at Title,) is the original (and in chronological... For the weapons system nicknamed R2-D2, see Phalanx CIWS. R2-D2 (called R2, or Artoo for short), is an astromech droid and colleague of C-3PO in the fictional Star Wars universe, created not long before 32 BBY. R2-D2 was played by Kenny Baker in five of the... Holography (from the Greek, Όλος-holos whole + γραφή-graphe writing) is the science of producing holograms; it is an advanced form of photography that allows an image to be recorded in three dimensions. ... Chess is an abstract strategy board game for two players. ... Chewbacca (or Chewie) (c. ... C-3PO (also spelled See-Threepio, called 3PO for short) is a character from the fictional Star Wars universe. ... Han Solo (born 29 BBY), a character in the fictional Star Wars universe, is played by Harrison Ford in the Star Wars film series. ...

See also

Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam (Latin: argument to the consequences), is an argument that concludes a premise (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. ... Appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy wherein the arguer (who is using this fallacy) takes advantage of emotion to prove his or her argument. ... In philosophy, the term logical fallacy properly refers to a formal fallacy: a flaw in the structure of a deductive argument which renders the argument invalid. ... In psychology, conformity is the degree to which members of a group will change their behavior, views and attitudes to fit the views of the group. ...

External links

  • About.com article on Argumentum ad Baculum

  Results from FactBites:
 
Argumentum ad baculum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (617 words)
Argumentum ad baculum (Latin: argument to the cudgel or appeal to the stick), also known as appeal to force, is an argument where force, coercion, or the threat of force, is given as a justification for a conclusion.
This form of argument is a logical fallacy, because the attack Q may not necessarily reveal anything about the truth value of the premise P. This fallacy has been identified since the Middle Ages by many philosophers.
This is a special case of argumentum ad consequentiam, or "appeal to consequences".
Encyclopedia Search (99 words)
ad baculum when one points out the negative consequences of holding...
ad baculum is not a logical fallacy, and further claim that many of...
ad hominem, or personal attack, is used when instead of refuting...
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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