Argumentum ad captandum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In rhetoric an argumentum ad captandum, for capturing the gullibility of the naïve among the listeners or

readers, is an unsound, specious argument designed to appeal to the emotions rather than to the mind. It is used to describe

“claptrap or meretricious attempts  to catch popular favor or applause.”[1] The longer form of the term is ad captandum

vulgus (Latin, “to ensnare the vulgar” or “to captivate the masses”);[2] the shorter and longer versions of the phrase are synonymous. The word

“vulgus” in Latin was a contemptuous reference, implying a rabble or a mob.[3]The ad captandum approach is commonly seen in 

political speech, advertising, and popular entertainment.[3] The classic example of something ad captandum

vulgus was the”bread and circuses” by which the Roman emperors maintained the support of the people of Rome.[3]