Appeal to Flattery

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

Description

Appeal to flattery is a logical fallacy in which a person uses flattery, excessive compliments, in an attempt to win support for their side.

Flattery is often used to hide the true intent of an idea or proposal. Praise offers a momentary personal distraction that can often weaken judgment. Moreover, it is usually a cunning form of appeal to consequences, since the audience is subject to be flattered as long as they comply with the flatterer.

An Appeal to Flattery is a fallacy of the following form:
Person A is flattered by person B.
Person B makes claim X.
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

"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..."

"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..."

"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."