Appeal to Bribery


The argument is actually an explicit or veiled bribe. In effect the arguer says, "If you accept this positon, I'll reward you."



"Children who know how to behave themselves just might get an ice cream cone."


"Girls say 'yes' to boys who say 'no'." [During the Viet Nam war protests, Joan Baez and other women protesting the war used this slogan to encourage men to be conscientious objectors. It was inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata.]


“I would like you to do us a favor, though..." Donald Trump, July 25, 2019, taken from a rough transcript of a phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in response to a request from Zelenskiy to purchase Javelin missles.



It is very typical in human interactions to reward others for doing what we want. Parents frequently reward children for good behavior, and it is right that they should do so. What incentive would any of us have to behave well if we got nothing out of it? Indeed, human interactions can be seen as a complex web of mutual rewards as we promote our own interests by serving the interests of others. The system of work for pay is part of this web. Political promises, diplomatic agreements, contracts, etc., are also part of the network of mutual rewards. It is not necessarily fallacious to think that I should do something because someone else has promised to reward me for doing it.

The fallacy of Appeal to Bribery tries to mimic this legitimate exchange of rewards for desirable behavior. However, truth operates under different rules of exchange than goods and services do. One cannot agree to believe a falsehood in exchange for a reward. It is a mistake to think that belief is a commodity or behavior, like work, that can be bought and paid for.


Source: I named this one to create a match for the classic Appeal to Force. I notice that the phrase has since achieved some common use on the Internet.


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