Appeal to Anger Fallacy and Anger Management

Appeal to Anger: Empty Vessels Make The Most Noise

Argumentum ad iram (also known as appeal to hatred, loathing, appeal to outrage, etc.)

Description: When the emotions of anger, hatred, or rage are substituted for evidence in an argument. When one resorts to anger, shouting, raising voice and screaming during a debate or discussion. “The appeal to anger fallacy” is committed when a person claims anger as evidence for the validity of a claim.

Appeal to Anger is a sign of intellectual arrogance that indicates partiality, bias and prejudice about one’s stance on the topic of discussion. If one resorts to anger, shouting and ad hominem fallacy (personal attacks) then it’s a sign that they are short of reasoning and evidence because truth does not need emotions to convey itself, it’s only lies and misinformation that take support of emotions and anger specifically. Anger is used as a tool to intimidate, bully and force the other person into accepting one’s position.

Logical Forms:

Person 1 claims that X is true.

Person 1 is outraged.

Therefore, X is true.

Claim A is made.

You are outraged by claim A.

Therefore, claim A is true/false


Jack says "government should spend more on education''

In response, John gets angry and starts to shout.

Jack is intimidated and avoids discussions with John.

Zara says ''Women should be given their rights.''

Luke gets angry and begins raising the volume and shouting at her.

Luke intimidates and harasses the opponent this way into silencing her.

Using anger or outrage to support a claim is an appeal to anger.

Anger Management during Discussion

Democratic Right to Opinion

It is essential to have the ability to agree to disagree. People can have diverse opinions and everyone has the democratic right to express one's opinions with the evidence and logical inferences in the discussion, one may differ in opinions and one must express the logical basis for one's opinions while the other person has the right to agree or disagree.
‘’I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’’ - Voltaire

Forcing people into buying one’s opinions is simply a fascist attitude. All one can do is express one's opinion and understanding with evidence and reasoning. The rest depends on the audience whether they accept it or not.

Never Make it About Winning and Losing

One should never make an argument for sake of winning or losing but always speak to know more and to know if one had been wrong. Developing this attitude will eradicate any element of anger one might possess.

Intellectual Humility through Skepticism

To fight away anger one needs to develop intellectual humility. One can develop intellectual humility by understanding three basic facts.

  1. We decode new ideas through the knowledge that we already possess (schema). Our schema is made up of all ideas and beliefs we inherited from our culture, socioeconomic conditions, teachers, parents, and books. We all have diversity in these sources which is why our ways of perceiving things are also diverse.
  2. We receive raw data through our five senses which have their own physical limitations.
  3. The human faculty of reasoning is not perfect. It suffers cognitive biases and thinking errors. Reasoning has its limitations.

By the virtue of the above-mentioned facts, no one can be the final authority on truth or final verdict. (No one is Mammoor Min Allah: Commissioned from God or Harf e Aakhir)

Being sceptical about one's own ideas, opinions, and stances is the path to intellectual humility. Developing a firm doubt that all that one knows can be wrong and that what one knows and expresses is but one's personal understanding. There can be people with better understanding and arguments to destroy all that one believes to be the truth.

Therefore expressing all opinions with the disclaimer ‘’To best of my understanding’’ ’’to best of my reasoning capability’’ and ‘’as I have understood it’’, indicates intellectual humility.

Acceptance of the fact that our reasoning faculty and senses have limitations and all that we know is influenced by so many socioeconomic factors enables us to be sceptical about our own opinions. This leads to the complete destruction of any partiality, prejudice and bias that we might have possessed. Anger indicates intellectual arrogance which is an intellectual disease and implies that we hold ourselves as sole bearers of truth commissioned from God, that our knowledge is perfect and that we are the final verdict.

Some Quotes

“We need to enter the conversation willing to be wrong, willing to admit the limits of our own knowledge, willing to reconsider our evidence, sources, and premises. That is self-scepticism.”
― Patricia Roberts-Miller, Demagoguery and Democracy

“It is a necessary condition of rationality that a man shall formulate his beliefs in such a way that it is clear what evidence would be evidence against them and that he shall lay himself open to criticism and refutation ... But to foreclose on tolerance is precisely to cut oneself off from such criticism and refutation. It is gravely to endanger one's own rationality by not admitting one's own fallibility.”
― Alasdair MacIntyre

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” 

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind.”

“It’s a universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” 

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