Appeal to consequences

An appeal to consequences maintains that a statement must be true or false because it leads to either good or bad consequence. The cartoon above illustrates the idea: if the boy is eaten by a dragon, this proves that feeding dragons is bad. Although this example is humorous and farfetched, there are situations where the truth or falsity of a statement can have consequences. For example, legal verdicts can cause riots. In this case, the fallacy could take the form: if the accused is found innocent, there will be riots across the city and the fact that so many people will riot proves that he must be guilty. The fallacy lies in the fact that logically the rioting has no relationship to the truth of the verdict. However, psychologically it might give the jury and nudge towards thinking he is guilty as well.

Name of fallacy Appeal to consequences
Type Irrelevant Argument, Informal Argument
Description Commending or condemning a proposition because of its practical consequences.
Treatment We can only become immune to the effect of this kind of appeal if we have formed a habit of recognizing our own tendencies to be guided by our prejudices and by our own self-interest, and of distrusting our judgement on questions in which we are practically concerned.