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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 5, 2008

Impoliteness and emotional arguments

  • Manfred Kienpointner
From the journal


After a few introductory remarks on recent impoliteness research, a preliminary definition of impoliteness/rudeness is given. Then the important role emotions play in relation to (im)politeness is briefly sketched, followed by descriptions of some connections between emotional arguments, fallacies and impoliteness. Emotional arguments need not be fallacious nor are they always formulated in impolite ways. However, certain fallacious subtypes of emotional arguments involving appeals to negative emotions tend to be formulated in an impolite way. Such arguments are called “destructive arguments” in this paper.

A few case studies of spoken and written passages of argumentative discourse are used to support the hypothesis that certain subtypes of emotional arguments are likely to be destructive. It is also shown, however, that sometimes even fallacious arguments involving positive emotions, such as pity, can be formulated in an impolite way. Finally, it is demonstrated that in certain exceptional cases even rude and fallacious arguments are not (totally) destructive because they ultimately serve some vital interests of the opponent.

Published Online: 2008-08-05
Published in Print: 2008-July

© 2008 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & KG, D-10785 Berlin

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