Appeal to motive

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An Appeal to motive is a form of logical fallacy that's related to ad hominem attacks. This particular fallacy is when an argument one is making is questioned due to his or her supposed motives.

The problem with this sort of fallacy is that addressing one's motives, instead of the argument put forth, is a type of red herring. Additionally, unless the person appealing to motive is telepathic, how could the person know one's secret motives, and whether they are part of the decision making process?


  • "You atheists are rejecting my evidence because you want to sin."
  • "Those scientists are only promoting global warming because they want more funding."
  • "You don't want to have a professional apologist on your show because you're scared of the truth."

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v · d Formal fallacies
Propositional logic   Affirming a disjunct · Affirming the consequent · Argument from fallacy · False dilemma · Denying the antecedent
Quantificational logic   Existential fallacy · Illicit conversion · Proof by example · Quantifier shift
Syllogistic   Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise · Exclusive premises · Necessity · Four-term fallacy · Illicit major · Illicit minor · Undistributed middle

v · d Faulty generalisations
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Distribution fallacies   Fallacy of composition · Fallacy of division
Data mining   Cherry picking · Accident fallacy · Spotlight fallacy · Hasty generalization · Special pleading
Causation fallacies   Post hoc ergo propter hoc · Retrospective determinism · Suppressed correlative · Wrong direction
Ontological fallacies   Fallacy of reification · Pathetic fallacy · Loki's Wager
v · d False relevance
Appeals   Appeal to authority · Appeal to consequences · Appeal to emotion · Appeal to motive · Appeal to novelty · Appeal to tradition · Appeal to pity · Appeal to popularity · Appeal to poverty · Appeal to spite · Appeal to wealth · Sentimental fallacy · Argumentum ad baculum
Ad hominem   Ad hominem abusive · Reductio ad Hitlerum · Judgmental language · Straw man · Tu quoque · Poisoning the well
Genetic Fallacies   Genetic fallacy · Association fallacy · Appeal to tradition · Texas sharpshooter fallacy