Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 4
And are also more prone to the appeal-to-authority fallacy.

I take it you haven't changed your opinion that all appeals to authority are fallacious. That's wrong. An appeal to authority CAN be a fallacy, but by no means always.

An appeal to authority is not a fallacy when the authority is an expert in the relevant field. The reason is pretty obvious: an expert's opinion is a proxy summary of all the relevant evidence available.

Fallacious appeal to authority: Sean Hannity says climate change is a hoax.

Non-fallacious appeal to authority: 97% of climate scientist have concluded that the earth is warming as the result of greenhouse gases produced by man.

Here's one of many explanations available:

"This argumentative technique is correct when appealing to an expert in the field that you are arguing about; for example, when speaking about ones mental illness, appealing to a psychiatrist would be logically correct and not fallacious, and when speaking about ones teeth, appealing to an orthodontist is also not fallacious.

...When one appeals to authority, but the subject that they are speaking to is outside of that authorities field of expertise, it is fallacious. An experts opinion is only to be appealed to in the field that they are an expert in;..."
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.