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Be appealing to people, sometimes.

Popularity 2Viewed 1619 times 2014-4-23 16:48 |Personal category:Logic Test Preparation|System category:Life| Appeal, People

Luxury items are not for everyone. If you qualify as one of the select few, some distinguished classics may be seen. 
-- standard advertising
People of the Philippines, I have returned! The hour of your redemption is here! Rally to me!
-- General Douglas MacArthur
All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting you endorse it. 
-- George W. Bush
My most frequently used apps have to get the job done quickly, must work, be nice and plain, and be without unwanted actions (or inactions). 
-- White Bear who blogs here at,

We are taught in an initial logic course to identify and reject fallacies, including Appeal to the People which is a fallacy of relevance. However, some appeals to the people are not errors. The above four quotes all appeal to people's desire for inclusion, respect, and security. Societal inclusion in the third and fourth examples happens by being funny, endearing, and sensible. Societal respect are implicitly promised in the first and second quotes, with the first emphasizing class distinction and the second emphasizing group mentality. Which ones are wrong? What is wrong depends on the situation.  For example, good, high quality politicians who win votes necessarily do so by appealing to people about the economy, health, quality of life and retirement, national security and education. George W. Bush provided us with many examples of excellent appeals to the people during his tenure. 

Is an Appeal to the People right or wrong? 

Yes, both, maybe. Ask instead, can the intended communication happen in an alternate way? For example, while George W. Bush was appealing for an endorsement, could someone have given the endorsement in a very good fit situation which would not have caused an implicit Division fallacy? Probably, yes. Which begs the question, why was an endorsement given without being a good fit? The endorsement which happened was not George W. Bush's fault and instead is the responsibility of the endorser, which George W. Bush made clear in a funny quote, which is intelligent rather than stupid. Maybe George W. Bush is among America's most misunderstood Presidents due to confusion about the fallacy, Appeal to the People. 

Of the given examples of Appeal to the People, the most plausibly wrong one is the traditional military arousal of mob mentality which admittedly excites and unites people, however, which can lead to aggressive behaviour, misunderstandings due to miscommunication due to excessive excitement, and chaos by way of violent outbursts expressing blame, disappointment and confusion. Can a military unite a people in a different way? It is not necessary. Appeal to the People, including group think, is correct when in correct applications. General Douglas MacArthur's mistake is in calling upon a people to feel excited and chosen, without seeming to take risks into account. 

An example showing an Appeal to the People used in a clearly wrong way is, 
I say "bravo" and "right on!" These brave people [a group of animal liberators] went up against the insensitive bureaucratic technology, and won, saving former pet animals from senseless torture. I know it's bad enough researchers use monkeys and rats, but those animals are bred knowing nothing else. It's different than researchers abusing dogs and cats that have been loved and petted all their lives to suddenly be tortured and mutilated in the name of science. End all animal research!
-- Linda Magee

Simple Level -- Appeal to the People's desire to avoid feeling disgusted and appalled, Appeal to the People (near mob mentality) prejudice against abuse of innocent family members. Although some local laws do not yet acknowledge companion animals as family members, for over 20 years human research has acknowledged humans respond to companion animals as full family members. Reject the argument. 

Intermediate Level -- Although the simple diagnosis is correct, rejecting the argument leaves animals vulnerable to harmful, and maybe painful, research practices. Inflicting pain or harm into or upon a living being is a form of torture. Science can happen without torture. Experiments show plants respond positively to care rather than to neglect or harm. Experiments show animals also respond positively to care rather than to neglect or harm. An experiment I distributed worldwide in my book, Biological, shows companion animals do communicate, in a binary logic proof based on empirical results. Therefore, we are responsible for upholding companion animals' right to quality and duration of good life experience and good death experience, since we have the ability to provide these. Thus Linda Magee's argument, Appeal to the People, is incorrect since we can achieve the goal of supporting animals in healthy, caring ways, conscientiously, without abusing researchers or bureaucrats with poor word choice. 

Advanced Level -- The intermediate level suffices in this instance. 

A Concise Introduction to Logic by Patrick Hurley, pages 119, 163, 182 and 183.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (4 comments)

Reply Report 财神 2014-4-23 18:21
Appeal to the People's desire to avoid feeling disgusted and appalled,
Reply Report J.E.Overington 2014-4-23 21:11
财神: Appeal to the People's desire to avoid feeling disgusted and appalled,
Can you reference something specific? The topic of your conversation is anybody's guess, and anybody is a poor guesser.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-4-23 22:48
I see the appeal of this post!
Reply Report J.E.Overington 2014-4-24 07:50
ColinSpeakman: I see the appeal of this post!
Thanks. I appreciate your effective communication.

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Recent comments

  • Education Methods 2020-1-7 20:25

    Then, IF you are the Secretary General of the United Nations, how do you tell the young students of the world what is going on in our world and, how to do is the right way

  • Education Methods 2020-1-5 01:54

    snowipine: Punishment strictly following the rules is always the last resort , usually we don't this way, but if here is no other wayout, how to do ?  I guess.
    Thanks for your comment, Snowpine. In schools and in prisons, we shouldn't feel trapped into punishments as persuasion or as motivation. We should be able to use rewards systems. What inspired my blog entry is thinking about the failed terrorist reform efforts, like Gitmo, and why they fail. Negativity doesn't cause improvements and secrecy just makes it worse, but rewards systems may work. It's unclear though since terrorists are different from students and normal prisoners.

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