Talk:Appeal to consequences

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Some older comments[edit]

Sam, please provide citations of people challenging the status of Appeal to consequences as a logical fallacy. It is listed in all the lists of fallacies I have encountered. - snoyes 08:32, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

see Argumentum ad baculum (a variation of appeal to consequence). Sam [Spade] 03:31, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The name is a little missleading. Arguing that something is a bad idea because it has bad consequences is of course perfectly valid. Arguing that a statement must be false because it beeing true would have bad consequences is a fallacy.

Yes, the article should be precise in what it refers to as the fallacy. Appeal to consequences is a claim that the antecedent has a particular truth value, either true or false, based only on whether you are subjectively fond of the consequent; this is utter non-sense. Shawnc 21:53, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Subjectivity isn't necessarily part of an appeal to consequences. The page which is cited, the one on logical fallacies, is very good, but it doesn't mention subjectivity at all. Even if goodness and badness, preference and aversion are objective, they can still be part of an argumentum ad consequentiam. 75.18.118.54 (talk) 19:38, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Delisted GA[edit]

There are no references. slambo 10:51, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

References have been added. Shawnc 17:32, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for adding the references. I removed other entries from WP:GA recently because they don't have any images, but I'm not sure what kind of images would be suitable for this article (which is why I didn't originally state that as an objection). I think the next thing that could be improved is to increase the amount of prose versus lists (but in a quick browse through Category:Logical fallacies I don't see something closer to what I'm thinking of). The article as it stands could be used as a one-page handout describing the concept; I think it already captures the core ideas involved, but it's a bit skimpy. It needs more flesh on the bones that are there. I don't know as much about philosopy as other subjects (rail transport, especially in North America, is my forte), so other than filling out text describing the rules and examples that are there, I'm not sure I would be able to add much more myself. Is there any historical context that can be added, such as how the concept has been applied by prominent philosophers and logicians? (if so, an image of the philosopher being discussed could be added too). Does this principle form the basis of any other thinking, such as (and this may be a long shot) any religious tenets? If I can get a chance tonight after dinner, I'll take a look around to see if I can find anything else that could be added. slambo 18:25, 24 October 2005 (UTC)


Examples[edit]

Ray Comfort's quote should not be listed, because as the article itself says "an argument based on appeal to consequences is valid in ethics, and in fact such arguments are the cornerstones of many moral theories" —Preceding Justin G

The claim about the axiom of choice seems to perhaps be false, but not fallacious. It seems to me just to be a rather simple modus tollens. If Axiom of Choice, then no common sense; ergo no axiom of choice. Of course the argument could be false and one might have to give up such common sense, but there does not seem to be any implied prescription of common sense being kept for better outcomes; rather just the descriptive claim that common sense is not violated. Cake (talk) 09:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

ambiguous sentence[edit]

The following (run on) sentence was not clear to me at first. It even seemed like the first half contradicted the last half.

"Appeal to consequences, however, does not refer to arguments that address whether a premise is a "good" or "bad" (as opposed to true or false) based on the appeal of its consequence, which are not logical arguments but are, instead, ethical arguments."

I think the following might make it better, but I'm not terribly familiar with this topic and I'm not sure if I should make this edit, so I put it up for discussion instead. I think this change might also help address an earlier comment made here, though this somewhat restates what the previous paragraph already stated. There's probably a better way to emphasize the point.

"An appeal to consequences, however, only refers to an argument which makes an assertion of the truth value based on the consequences. The argument can be a valid ethical argument instead of a logical fallacy if it makes it clear that the argument addresses the desirability, the goodness or badness, instead of the truthfulness."

Xibur 07:30, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I've made an edit. Since ethical arguments are arguably beyond the scope of pure logic, it's probably best to avoid using the word "valid" as a descriptor here. Shawnc 13:18, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Example?[edit]

Could we see the first Wizard's Rule as an observation/restatement of the commonness of the Appeal to consequences? --maru (talk) contribs 03:53, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Pragmatism a fallacy?[edit]

Really, this will not do unqualified. Read William James. Septentrionalis 23:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

A variation known as appeal to consequences of a belief has this form[1]:
The belief in P leads to Q.
Q is desirable/undesirable.
Therefore, P is true/false.

The assertion that a fallacy is worse when its major premise is factually invalid is also peculiar. Reasoning is equally invalid if the premises are true, and equally valid if they are false. Septentrionalis 23:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Reductio ad absurdum[edit]

I really don't see any difference between appeal to consequences and reductio ad absurdum. Champignac 08:56, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Roughly speaking, a reductio is about truth values and appeal to consequences is about what is desirable or what we would like. A reductio shows that a contradiction follows. A self-contradictory statement has to be false. You might be getting confused because most of the examples in the list of negative arguments can be read as either modus tollens or as argumentum ad consequentiam. 75.18.118.54 (talk) 19:28, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Reductio ad abusurdum is not a fallacy, as noted. Say I know that 2+2 does not equal 5. Then, if someone clams 2+1 equals 4, I can show that would mean 2+2 equals 5. That's reductio ad absurdum, and a valid proof that 2+1 does not equal 4.
On the other hand, claiming that "Santa Claus exists" is true because "If he doesn't exist, my daughter won't get any free toys", is a fallacious appeal to consequences. Superm401 - Talk 09:44, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Verification[edit]

The article is tagged with {{verify}}, but most claims are fairly obvious from external links. So use {{fact}} if anything is in particular need of verification. Superm401 - Talk 09:47, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


In the interests of fairness and accuracy To all honest editors here, I would like to point out the quote from Ray Comfort, whatever your personal relationship with him, is quite obviously deceitful. I have read the source document, which nowhere contains the quote, thus making this a primary source and thus violating wikipedia's rules. However that is not my problem, in my opinion the rewriting of the argument is not too bad outside of the wikipedia rules and I would allow it in a debate, however the description of it is reprehensible. I will here suggest what should be given as the summary; "Ray Comfort arguing against the use of fallacious arguments by Atheists." and not "Ray Comfort arguing for the existence of God.". Here he is arguing that Atheists in fact use argumentae (plural form?) ad consequentiam, and any effort on his part to introduce real arguments or proof would be unwanted by his opponents and hence in vain. Whilst I have an account here I can't be bothered logging in as it will take me away from the page. [Anonymous] 09:34, 26 May 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.234.110.134 (talk)

Seeing how nobody addressed this I have edited it myself. I don't think it is perfect but it is not a candidate for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Libel any more. Furthermore Pascal's Wager is not a logical argument but an emotional one, and is therefore not a valid example, or in other words a non logical argument cannot be a logical fallacy therefore I submit that it be removed.

Nibblet (talk) 02:49, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

How is it not a logical argument? Pascal argues that since suffering in Hell is eternal and infinite, one should try to prevent going to Hell even if it's very unlikely that Hell exists. It's a risk/reward thing. There are many things wrong with it, but I don't see how it's not logical. 99.244.97.75 (talk) 03:14, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

"Fallacy"[edit]

This depends on the theory of truth you're using. As said and ignored somewhat up above, William James would strongly disagree that an appeal to consequences is a fallacy. This needs to be mentioned. 157.193.106.30 (talk) 14:44, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Possible "Skeptic" bias?[edit]

Why is Pascal's Wager listed in the links section as if it is a case-in-point? I did a quick google check to see what other people had to say about this and the only sites that came up were skeptic websites.

This is exactly why I'm not a big fan of this system. If you're clever enough you can make subtle swipes towards some group of people you disagree with and get away with it...I've seen so much of this that it really makes me second guess wikipedia information.

If anyone looks at my "history": I'm at a university so my IP is the same as many others! It wasn't me :)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 155.247.67.135 (talk) 00:04, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

We have a good famous example here: Tyrannosaurus_in_popular_culture#Other_appearances:

In the Calvin and Hobbes comics, fantasy sequences often featured Tyrannosaurus rex. In one story arc, in which Calvin writes a school paper on the T. rex predator/scavenger debate, he argues that T. rex was a predator because "They're so much cooler that way."

  1. ^ Ramdac.org - Appeal to Consequences of a Belief