argumentum ad passiones

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Latin: argūmentum (argument”, “proof) + ad (to”, “toward) + passiōnēs (accusative plural of passio, “suffering”, “passion”) ≈ “appeal to the passions”


  • (Classical Latin) IPA(key): /aɹ.ɡuːˈmen.tum ad pas.siˈoː.neːs/, [aɹ.ɡuːˈmen.tũ ad pas.siˈoː.neːs]
  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: ärgyo͞omĕnʹtəm ăd păsĭōʹnēz, IPA(key): /ɑːɡjuːˈmɛntəm æd pæsɪˈəʊniːz/


argumentum ad passiones (plural argumenta ad passiones)

  1. (rhetoric) An appeal or argument intended to convince the listener(s) by agitating the emotions, rather than by appealing to sober judgment.
    • 1724, Isaac Watts, Logick: or, The Right Uſe of Reaſon in Works, publiſhed by himſelf V (1753), page 154
      When an argument is borrowed from any topics which are ſuited to engage the inclinations and paſſions of the hearers on the ſide of the ſpeaker, rather than to convince the judgment, this is argumentum ad paſſiones, an addreſs to the paſſions; or if it be made publicly, it is called ad populum, or an appeal to the people.
    • 1825 September, Lachlan MᶜLean, “Essay on Composition” in The Glasgow Mechanics’ Magazine IV:xcv (15th October 1825), page 142
      Divide your sentence into three distinct members, each member commencing with the same words, but terminating with words conveying different ideas. [] Sometimes three or more kindred words may have the same happy effect, in which case we should have a view [] to alliteration. [] This mode may be denominated argumentum ad passiones.
    • 1908, William Ralph Boyce Gibson and Augusta Klein, The Problem of Logic, page 288
      The argumentum ad passiones, or the argumentum ad populum, is an argument similarly irrelevant with the type of argumentum ad hominem we have just been considering. Here it is not the judgment that is convinced, but the inclinations and passions.
    • 1930, Stuart Gilbert in: Howard Russell Huse, The Illiteracy of the Literate (1933), page 175
      The speaker uses the argumentum ad hominem by comparing his race with the Chosen People, an argumentum ad fidem in exploiting for the purposes of his similitude their belief in the miraculous origin of the tables of the law, and an argumentum ad passiones in his description of the browbeating of a small inspired race by the arrogant spokesman of a mighty empire.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:argumentum ad passiones.

See also[edit]



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argumentum ad passiones n (uncountable)

  1. (rare) argumentum ad passiones