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Appeal To Motive

October 8th, 2009

Taxonomy – Where am I?

Appeal To Motive

classification : informal – red herring – genetic fallacy – ad hominem

A pattern of argument which consists in challenging a thesis by calling into question the motives of its proposer. It can be considered as a special case of the ad hominem circumstantial argument.


Appeals to Motive in Place of Support. A common feature of appeals to motive is that only the possibility of a motive (however small) is shown, without showing the motive actually existed or, if the motive did exist, that the motive played a role in forming the argument and its conclusion. Indeed, it is often assumed that the mere possibility of motive is evidence enough.


The referee comes from the same place as (a sports team), so his refereeing was obviously biased towards them.

Other Names

ad hominem circumstantial


fallacies of relevance

Included Fallacies

Appeal to Force
Appeal to Pity
Appeal to Consequences
Prejudicial Language
Appeal to Popularity

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Categories: Logic