[extropy-chat] Appeal to Authority

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 16 15:30:07 UTC 2006

On Thu, 16 Mar 2006 01:22:53 -0500, Ian Goddard <iamgoddard at yahoo.com>  

> Why Appeal to Authority is a Null-Move in Argument
> Scientific statements are fundamentally testable
> descriptions of, or inferences from, empirical
> observations. Appeals to authorities in a field of
> science are scientific only in so far as they purport
> the existence of a higher success rate for statements...

Your analysis looks reasonable to me except that it seems to ignore  
non-scientific arguments. Some arguments have no basis in empirical  
observation, for example certain arguments in moral philosophy and  
mathematics. Appeals to authority here are still fallacious, even when the  
authority is or might be correct.

Seems to me appeals to authority are fallacious because, as Hal writes,  
"without knowing why the authorities believe as they do, we cannot pit the  
competing arguments sharply against one another." Appeals to authority are  
therefore not a form of logical discourse.

On a separate but related subject, consider that even appeals to  
authoritarian *modes of thinking* may be fallacious.


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