Núm. 1 (2010)

The Argumentative Uses of Emotive Language

Publicado julio 3, 2017


This paper analyzes selected examples of uses of argumentation tactics that exploit emotive language, many of them criticized as deceptive and even fallacious by classical and recent sources, including current informal logic textbooks. The analysis is based on six argumentation schemes, and an account of the dialectical setting in which these schemes are used. The three conclusions are (1) that such uses of emotive language are often reasonable and necessary in argumentation based on values, (2) but that they are defeasible, and hence need to be seen as open to critical questioning (3) and that when they are used fallaciously, it is because they interfere with critical questioning or conceal the need for it. The analysis furnishes criteria for distinguishing between arguments based on the use of emotive words that are reasonable tools of persuasion, and those that are fallacious tactics used to conceal and distort information.

Keywords: Loaded words, redefinitions, euphemisms, persuasion, argumentation