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I'm fairly sure there is a word or phrase to describe arguing emotively from an extreme, or biased, point of view as if your view is fact, but I can't remember what it may be. (I am wanting to use this word or phrase in a reply, I promise it is not a crossword clue.)

Any hints?

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    Hyperbole, perhaps? Not exactly what you mean, but close I think.
    – Noldorin
    Nov 10, 2010 at 22:03
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    @Noldorin That's exactly it! And true, probably why I couldn't remember it was that the word pertains to the rhetoric rather than the emotive. Add that as an answer, with appropriate qualifications, and I will use it as the answer
    – johnc
    Nov 10, 2010 at 22:09
  • Ah, excellent. I wasn't confident initially, but I've added a full answer now. :)
    – Noldorin
    Nov 10, 2010 at 23:41
  • +1 also; it's a useful word to have in the vocabulary that I'm sure others are looking for too.
    – Noldorin
    Nov 10, 2010 at 23:41
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    Sorry, but Hyperbole is not the correct answer guys.
    – ocodo
    Nov 11, 2010 at 3:08

6 Answers 6

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I hope most are agreed that "hyperbole" is not a good answer for the original question.

I'm thinking the sentiment expressed in the question is close to a definition of "dogmatic," though "dogmatic" does not connote anything about being extreme, more about simply stating opinions as if they were facts. The question pertains as much to the arguing from a particular point of view as it does to the expression of that point of view. "Dogmatic" seems to have this overtone, since the employment of dogma is almost exclusively in the context of persuasion, and not infrequently, argumentation. Anyway, it follows that "to argue dogmatically" would be very close to the second part of "arguing emotively from an extreme, or biased, point of view as if your view is fact," but it does not capture the "extreme" aspect the poser wants, more the "arguing as if your view were already ascertained fact" aspect.

So, "dogmatic" is not a perfect fit--but maybe there isn't one.

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  • Although hyperbole was the word I was struggling for, on reflection, I agree that, whilst still not an exact literal analogue of the given question, dogmatic is probably a better answer, so I have chosen to accept it instead. Thanks
    – johnc
    Mar 26, 2012 at 21:41
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It's a Fallacious Argument, of which there are many varieties, find one here that fits your specific case... could well be Argument By Laziness (or Argument By Uninformed Opinion)

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html

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  • No, it's not a fallacious argument. Biased and emotive argument is orthogonal to factuality!
    – Noldorin
    Nov 11, 2010 at 12:11
  • I think you're in the right direction, but your answer is very general.
    – Jay
    Jan 24, 2012 at 16:09
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Perhaps you mean begging the question? According to BegTheQuestion.info, it means:

"Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

A simple example would be "I think he is unattractive because he is ugly." The adjective "ugly" does not explain why the subject is "unattractive" -- they virtually amount to the same subjective meaning, and the proof is merely a restatement of the premise. The sentence has begged the question.

Interestingly, the term "begging the question" is commonly misused to mean, "to raise the question."

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I think you're actually thinking of a logical fallacy, known as the appeal to misleading authority, or ipse dixit. http://www.fallacyfiles.org/authorit.html

This occurs when someone incorrectly assumes an opinion to be fact. In contrast, hyperbole is an exaggerated statement not intended to be taken as fact.

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I would call this prejudice or prejudgement: making a judgement before heeding relevant facts or considering other viewpoints; presenting opinion as fact without sufficient evidence. Pontification could be related.

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The term you are looking for seems to be hyperbole.

The Wikipedia entry defines it pretty well:

Hyperbole ... is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.

Merriam-Webster simply defines it as "extravagant exaggeration", which is perhaps the most generic meaning. Most commonly the word is used in the context of a debate/argument.

It evidently refers more to the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device, but emotion/persuasion often goes hand in hand, so it's pretty appropriate for the case you're considering.

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    Hyperbole isn't necessarily related to a biased argument, which is the title of the question. Hyperbole is rhetorical exaggeration.
    – ocodo
    Nov 11, 2010 at 3:00
  • @slomojo: Yes, and if you read my comment on the original question, you'll see my admission that the word doesn't exactly fit what the poster was asking for. It is however close, and the poster confirmed it was what he wanted. :)
    – Noldorin
    Nov 11, 2010 at 12:10
  • Oh I know that :)
    – ocodo
    Nov 11, 2010 at 21:10
  • Hmm, I don't see how this fits at all. Maybe if we knew the OP's context. But hyperbole is when you say something like, "I was attacked by a dog that was the size of a truck!" The dog was not literally the size of a truck; this is just a way of emphasizing that he was very big. The poster's question sounds more like he is referring to statements like, "As all Republicans are racists, Senator Jones is opposing this bill just because it will help black people."
    – Jay
    Jan 24, 2012 at 15:56
  • @Jay: What you're talking about that is actually just a subset of hyperbole, "metaphorical hyperbole" (or "hyperbolic imagery" if you like). It does in fact extend to a wider sense, as I point out in my post.
    – Noldorin
    Jan 24, 2012 at 16:52

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