Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!

one moment please...

Appeal to Spite

argumentum ad odium

Description: Substituting spite (petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart) for evidence in an argument, or as a reason to support or reject a claim.

Logical Form:

Claim X is made.

Claim X is associated with thing Y that people feel spite towards.

Therefore, X is not true / false.

Example #1:

Aren't you tired of the political divisiveness in this country? Republicans know what they are talking about when it comes to immigration. Don't you agree?

Explanation: This is a slick way of having someone agree with your claim. The arguer began by introducing a common idea that many people despise—political divisiveness (thing Y). Then, made a claim (claim X) in which the person would have to show political divisiveness to reject, in effect, causing the person to substitute spite in the idea of political divisiveness for reason.

Example #2:

Jon: Why should I bother exercising while my spouse is on vacation stuffing her face with food.

Explanation: The reasons for exercising are independent of the Jon's wife's actions. The claim here is that Jon should not bother exercising. The claim is associated with the idea that his wife is "stuffing her face with food" (something Jon feels spite towards). Jon concludes that he shouldn't exercise. If Jon were using reason rather than the emotion of spite, he would find another reason not to exercise—like the fact that he is too far behind on The Golden Girls reruns.

Exception: This doesn't apply to emotional, relatively insignificant arguments.

Sib: Dude, can you give me a ride to the mall?

Eddie: You mean in my car about which you said it was "just slightly better than getting around on a drunk donkey"?

Sib: Yea.

Eddie. No. You are not worthy of a ride in my fine automobile.

The claim is that Sib is not worthy of a ride in Eddie's car (an emotional/subjective claim). Although Eddie appeals to spite in his reason, he has the right to in this case.


Moore, B. N., & Parker, R. (1997). Critical Thinking Instructor’s Manual: The Logical Accessory. Mayfield Publishing Company.

Registered User Comments

Become a Logical Fallacy Master. Choose Your Poison.

Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.

Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:

Not Much of a Reader? No Problem!

Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!

Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.

Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.

About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.