What Is an Example of an Argument From Outrage?

An example of an argument from outrage is a speaker or writer relying upon their personal, subjective and overtly negative reaction to a situation as a means of persuading others to accept their point of view. A speaker might say, for example, "I was furious with my company's management when they failed to respond to my complaint, and we should all make it a priority to get these people replaced." This would be considered a non-academic and improper form of rhetoric, referred to as an ethical fallacy, because it is based on transferring the speaker's personal sense of outrage to others in an attempt to gain their support.

An argument from outrage is considered an inappropriate rhetorical device because it does not anticipate the audience or listener forming their own conclusions. Although an emotional appeal is recognized as a legitimate rhetorical device, called "pathos," doing so without also incorporating the elements of logic or ethics into the argument is considered to be one of the three rhetorical fallacies.

A logical fallacy occurs when the writer or speaker fails to logically support their point of view. There are several types of logical fallacies in rhetoric including red herrings, hasty generalizations and non sequiturs. Emotional fallacies include group thinking, flattery and scare tactics. In addition to the argument from outrage, ethical fallacies include scapegoating, personal attacks and guilt by association.