What Is Ad Consequentiam?

Argumentum ad consequentiam is a Latin phrase that means “argument to the consequence.” It is also an argument to the consequences, an argument from the consequences, an appeal to the consequences of a belief, appeal to utility. In this blog, we will discuss what is ad consequential.

It refers to a type of argument in which the conclusion of a hypothesis or belief is determined by whether the underlying premise has desirable or undesirable consequences. This is a form of informal fallacy that is based on an emotional appeal, as the desirability of a premise’s consequence does not imply that the premise is true. Furthermore, these arguments are inherently biased. Because they label outcomes as either desirable or undesirable.

The term “appeal to consequences” in logic only refers to arguments that assert the truth value of a conclusion without taking into account the formal preservation of the truth from the premises; it does not apply to arguments that discuss a premise’s consequential desirability rather than its true value. In light of this, an argument based on an appeal to consequences is valid in long-term decision-making (which considers possibilities that do not yet exist in the present) and abstract ethics. Such arguments form the basis of many moral theories, especially those related to consequentialism. Additionally, argumentum ad baculum, which is the use of “artificial” consequences (i.e., punishments) to argue that an action is wrong, should not be confused with an appeal to consequences.

Logical Form

X is true because there would be negative consequences if people did not accept X as true.

X is false because there would be negative consequences if people did not accept X as false.

Because accepting that X is true has positive consequences, X is true.

Because accepting that X is false has positive consequences, X is false.

Example 01

When the United States fought the Mexican War of 1848, justice was on its side. It would be unpatriotic to challenge this and would encourage defeatism, which would only strengthen our enemies.

The argumentation, in this case, appears to have changed dialectically from a critical discussion of the ethical question of which side was supposedly more in the right to a deliberative or a discussion that is more practical in nature about the effects of having such a critical discussion, or at the very least of taking a specific position in this discussion.

Argumentation from consequences is particularly perplexing in that, despite being portrayed as a fallacy. It frequently appears to be a perfectly reasonable method of argumentation. Arguing for or against a proposed policy by pointing out its benefits or drawbacks is one of the most popular forms of argument in daily discussions, and it is frequently quite persuasive as a defeasible and presumptive form of argumentation.

Example 02

The federal government’s decision to reduce cigarette taxes will have negative effects because evidence suggests that cigarette consumption rises as prices fall and that this increase in consumption results in smoking-related illnesses that shorten lifespans and cost the country millions of dollars in medical expenses. As a result, we ought to oppose the government policy that was conveyed through this decision.

The use of argumentation from consequences seems reasonable in this situation. This argument might not be conclusive, it would be unfair to label it fallacious in this instance. Distinguishing between the fallacious and the nonfallacious cases of argumentum ad consequentiam is the challenge present in such cases.

Example 03

God must either be real or not. We cannot let reason make a judgment call for us.

Think of it as a bet since a decision needs to be made. If you wager that God exists and live your life accordingly, you will enjoy an eternity of happiness. You don’t lose anything if you lose (or very little). Because there is an infinity to win, Pascal claims that believing in God is a rational decision because “that removes all doubt as to choice.” Pascal suggests that if you have trouble believing, you should try acting as you do. As a result, you should attend church, drink holy water, and practice your religion.

Pascal’s argument is based on a comparison of theoretical and practical reasoning. The argument for accepting the premise that God exists is based on a comparison of the consequences of believing versus not believing. There doesn’t seem to be an equally strong counterargument to an infinite number of positive consequences. You should proceed with the assumption that God exists and behave as though it were true because believing has positive results.

It is a skillful application of argumentation from consequences. It is based on the Enlightenment ideal of viewing probability as the model of rational argumentation. Even in matters of the heart.

Appeal To Convenience

It is a variation of the argument to the consequences. Accepting an argument because its conclusion is convenient, rather than because it is necessarily true. This is a relatively uncommon fallacy. In an appeal-to-consequences fallacy, consequences can be positive or negative, whereas convenience is always positive in an appeal-to-convenience fallacy.

The Ending Note

Argument from consequences is an important form of reasoning in informal logic. It is a common type of argumentation in everyday argumentative discourse, and its structure underlies many informal fallacies.

Though it is a fallacy in logic, it is sometimes reasonable. Evaluating the consequences of an action is a helpful way. To decide whether a particular action should be taken or not.

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