Is there such an expression in Latin that describes the following situations:

  • Someone using arguments based on fear, patriotism and race/nationalism instead of logic for the purpose of trying to convince people quickly? For example: "If we don't pass this bill, everyone in our country will die!"

  • Someone who can't reply to an argument and instead uses their authority to debunk the argument? For example: "I finished my work, can I leave early today?" . "No". "Why?" . "Because I am your boss and I said no".

Do such terms to describe these situations exist in Latin?


1 Answer 1


Your first example isn't quite right in a strictly logical sense. What if, for example, the passage of the bill prevented nuclear holocaust? But ignoring some extreme examples, this is probably best seen as an appeal to emotion, the Latin of which is argumentum ad passiones.

The second example you give isn't a biased argument, because it's not an argument at all. It's not even an attempt to argue; it's simply a denial. For that particular scenario, you could use negatio, which is a Latin word for "denial." I'd avoid recusatio, another word for "denial," since it carries additional connotations and is the term given for a particular rhetorical device.

An actual appeal to the authority (argumentum ab auctoritate) would be more along the lines of:

It's not good to leave early even though you're finished because I'm the boss and I know best.

In the above example, the correctness of the argument is due to its appeal to the authority of claimant. It's making a logical statement, and to put it into syllogistic terms:

P1 I'm the boss
P2 I know best
P3 I say it's not good to leave early
C It's not good to leave early

The fallacy is clearer there.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.