The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fallacy: Appeal to Flattery

Also Known as: Apple Polishing, various "colorful" expressions.

Description of Appeal to Flattery

An Appeal to Flattery is a fallacy of the following form:

  1. Person A is flattered by person B.
  2. Person B makes claim X.
  3. Therefore X is true.

The basic idea behind this fallacy is that flattery is presented in the place of evidence for accepting a claim. this sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because flattery is not, in fact, evidence for a claim. This is especially clear in a case like this: "My Bill, that is a really nice tie. By the way, it is quite clear that one plus one is equal to forty three."

Examples of Appeal to Flattery

  1. "Might I say that this is the best philosophy class I've ever taken. By the way, about those two points I need to get an A..."

  2. "That was a wonderful joke about AIDS boss, and I agree with you that the damn liberals are wrecking the country. Now about my raise..."

  3. "That was a singularly brilliant idea. I have never seen such a clear and eloquent defense of Plato's position. If you do not mind, I'll base my paper on it. Provided that you allow me a little extra time past the deadline to work on it."

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