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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Appeal to Motive

 

I recall a historical discussion with a group of work colleagues during which I questioned whether or not focusing resources on girls and women was appropriate, given that boys and men also qualified for mental, emotional, and behavior health services offered by the organization.

 

My supervisor, knowing that I rejected feminist ideology, remarked something to the effect of, “Oh yeah, that’s your thing, right?” Rather than taking seriously my concern for equality, my point was dismissed due to my supervisor having impugned motive.

 

Regarding this matter, one source states, “One common fallacy is the ‘Appeal to Motive’, which assumes that someone’s motive for arguing a point or holding a belief invalidates that point or belief.” Because I was perceived as maintaining anti-feminist beliefs, the point I made was dismissed by my supervisor.

 

A separate source clarifies, “While a questionable motive might allow us to expect a particular bias within the argument, or even a reason for fabricating a claim, it is the argument itself that must be assessed.” Therefore, although it was true that I rejected feminist ideology, my point of advocacy for equality was still worth considering.

 

Per one source, the logical fallacy of appeal to motive is also referred to as ad hominem (circumstantial), appeal to bias, appeal to personal interest, argument from motives, conflict of interest, faulty motives, naïve cynicism, questioning motives, and vested interest, and assumes the following form:

 

Person 1 is claiming Y.

 

Person 1 has a vested interest in Y being true.

 

Therefore, Y is false.

 

From the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I submit that knowledge of this logical fallacy is important for reducing self-disturbance. For instance, had I irrationally believed that my supervisor shouldn’t have dismissed by suggestion, I would’ve upset myself with this rigid belief.

 

However, I flexibly considered that my supervisor was using an appeal to motive and I was able to tolerate and accept his dismissive response to my advocacy for equality. Thus, when he subsequently used a similar irrational framework with me, I built resilience regarding my supervisor’s illogical white-knighting behavior towards females.

 

After all, he probably advocated differential treatment for girls and women, because he discriminatingly perceived them as the weaker of two sexes. (See what I did there?)

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


 

References:

 

Benzoix. (n.d.). Nah dislike portrait of annoyed and unimpressed arrogant cool girl with curly hair tilting head with [Image]. Freepik. Retrieved from https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/nah-dislike-portrait-annoyed-unimpressed-arrogant-cool-girl-with-curly-hair-tilting-head-with_36968559.htm#fromView=search&page=1&position=12&uuid=ddb66051-a173-42c4-88a4-bbf23d16eff2

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Logical fallacies. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/logical-fallacies

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, February 9). Feminism. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/feminism

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, January 8). Logic and reason. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/logic-and-reason

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, May 8). Resilience. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/resilience

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rigid-vs-rigorous

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/tna

Hollings, D. (2024, April 23). White-knighting. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/white-knighting

ListofFallacies. (n.d.). Appeal to motive. Retrieved from https://listoffallacies.com/appeal-to-motive/

Logical Fallacies. (n.d.). Appeal to motive. Retrieved from https://logfall.wordpress.com/appeal-to-motive/

Logically Fallacious. (n.d.). As hominem (circumstantial). Retrieved from https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/cgi-bin/uy/webpages.cgi?/logicalfallacies/Ad-Hominem-Circumstantial

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