Emotional appeal is an argument that appeals to your emotions.
It avoids sound arguments and facts and tries to get an emotional response.
But here is the thing.
Although an appeal to emotion is often done on purpose – it is often also the default.
I believe that Eliot gets it exactly right here: In the absence of knowledge, emotions are used as a crutch.
In fact, tapping into emotions is one of the four simple persuasion tools.
Find all 31 persuasion tips here.
Again, this is no new thing. T. S. Eliot wrote almost a century ago about a phenomenon that he believed to be the product of the nineteenth century: “When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when everyone knows a little about a great many things, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to know whether he knows what he is talking about or not.” And in such circumstances—let me add emphasis to Eliot’s conclusion—“ when we do not know, or when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts.”
-Alan Jacobs, How To Think