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Apple Polishing Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

Apple polishing has a number of synonyms, which include brown-nosing, false flattering, and toadying. In all cases, the idea of apple polishing comes from apples given to teachers at school in order to curry favor with the teacher. It can be a mute appeal in the form of a gift to like and thus grade a student better. Alternately, in speech, especially where you want to argue a point, apple polishing is an appeal to flattery and emotion, and thus considered a logical fallacy. Trying to get a teacher or a boss to like you in order to give you better grades or a promotion is a common practice. While it is fine to like a teacher or boss and tell him or her so, constant flattery meant to gain ...view middle of the document...

Another method of apple polishing is to begin by a bit of flattery that works into winning an argument. “Since we’re both intelligent, I think you’ll agree with me that “X” is important.” The person constructing the argument first establishes the intelligence of both people, but more importantly he establishes that the person with whom he wishes to gain agreement is intelligent. Then comes the hook, “I think we’ll both agree.” Unfortunately, the statement that a person is intelligent does not have a logical connection to “X is important.” This last form is a frequent one used by politicians and by many commercials. For example something could be marketed to the consumer “with taste,” flattering those who buy the product into thinking they have “good taste.” A politician might say, “I know all good Americans will join me in this fight.” If you do otherwise than join the politician, you are not a good American, according to the statement. The basic formula for apple polishing is the following: 1) Use flattery to the person or audience to which you appeal
2) Make a claim or a request
3) Insist that since the flattery is true, the request or claim is valid. Through this formula, you can see that apple polishing establishes a faulty logical connection. Flattery doesn’t make an argument true. Yet it should be pointed out, that it works quite well for many in politics and commercial markets. Fallacy: Appeal to {draw:frame} Flattery {draw:rect} Also Known as: Apple Polishing, various "colorful" expressions. {text:bookmark-start} Description of Appeal to Flattery {text:bookmark-end} An Appeal to {draw:frame} Flattery is a fallacy of the following form: Person A is flattered by person B. Person B makes claim X. Therefore X is true. The basic idea behind this fallacy is that flattery is presented in the place of evidence for accepting a claim. this sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because {draw:frame} flattery is not, in fact, evidence for a claim. This is especially {draw:frame} clear in a case like this: "My Bill, that is a really nice tie. By the way, it is quite {draw:frame} clear that one plus one is equal to forty three." {text:bookmark-start} Examples of Appeal to Flattery {text:bookmark-end} "Might I say that this is the best philosophy class I've ever taken. By the way, about those two points I need to get an A..." "That was a wonderful joke about AIDS boss, and I agree with you that the damn liberals are wrecking the country. Now about my raise..." "That was a singularly brilliant idea. I have never seen such a clear and eloquent defense of Plato's position. If you do not mind, I'll base my paper on it. Provided that you allow me a little extra time past the deadline to work on it." {draw:rect} Name:
Appeal to Flattery Alternate Names:
Sucking Up
Apple Polishing
Other "colorful" expressions Category:
Fallacy of Relevance > Appeals to Emotion Explanation

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