Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

Arguments sometimes appeal to sex by invoking the sexuality of a model or a person or the promise of sexual gratification. When sexual gratification is not a relevant consideration, the appeal seems to be fallacious.

We will address when this may be an appropriate line of reasoning -- there is such a thing as “sex appeal”--and when it may be biased to assume the relevance of sexuality. Advertising, which provides infinite examples of appeal to sex, may be questionable as a case of argumentation, as opposed to some other sort of negotiation or communication, especially perhaps in its reliance on visual imagery. Yet, more classic textual cases of appeal to sex can be found (e.g. Lysistrata), as well as what may be reasonable enough practical advice (e.g. in advice columns) about making oneself sexually attractive.

Its appropriate role sometimes as a practical consideration suggests that appeal to sex is analogous to appeal to force, or ad baculum, which can be relevant in a negotiation dialogue, Douglas Walton argues. So, it deserves at least the same attention from argumentation scholars, and perhaps even more from critical thinking educators in cultures more saturated with sexuality than with threats.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Maureen Linker, Commentary on: “Ad Stuprum: The Fallacy of Appeal to Sex” (May 2016)

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Ad Stuprum: The Fallacy of Appeal to Sex

University of Windsor

Arguments sometimes appeal to sex by invoking the sexuality of a model or a person or the promise of sexual gratification. When sexual gratification is not a relevant consideration, the appeal seems to be fallacious.

We will address when this may be an appropriate line of reasoning -- there is such a thing as “sex appeal”--and when it may be biased to assume the relevance of sexuality. Advertising, which provides infinite examples of appeal to sex, may be questionable as a case of argumentation, as opposed to some other sort of negotiation or communication, especially perhaps in its reliance on visual imagery. Yet, more classic textual cases of appeal to sex can be found (e.g. Lysistrata), as well as what may be reasonable enough practical advice (e.g. in advice columns) about making oneself sexually attractive.

Its appropriate role sometimes as a practical consideration suggests that appeal to sex is analogous to appeal to force, or ad baculum, which can be relevant in a negotiation dialogue, Douglas Walton argues. So, it deserves at least the same attention from argumentation scholars, and perhaps even more from critical thinking educators in cultures more saturated with sexuality than with threats.