Appeal to shame

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An appeal to shame (aka shaming) is a form of appeal to negative emotion in which the target is encouraged to feel shameful for holding the views for which they are arguing. This is typically done by ascribing false motives to the target, or motives which may seem "obviously" true despite not being true at all.


  • The appeal to shame is very similar to the appeal to guilt. The difference (tentatively) is that "shame" is more about the fear of social disapproval, while "guilt" is an appeal to one's own moral sense.


The "appeal to shame" may be acceptable as a way of shaming an opponent into accepting an otherwise-valid argument when logic and reason have failed; see rhetorical deception/valid uses for further discussion.