There is no Fallacy of Arguing from Authority

Edwin Coleman


I argue that there is no fallacy of argument from authority. I first show the weakness of the case for there being such a fallacy: text-book presentations are confused, alleged
examples are not genuinely exemplary, reasons given for its alleged fallaciousness are not convincing. Then I analyse arguing from authority as a complex speech act. Rejecting the popular but unjustified category of the "part-time fallacy", I show that bad arguments which appeal to authority are defective through breach of some felicity condition on argument as a speech act, not through employing a bad principle of inference.


fallacy, argument, authority, speech act

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ISSN: 0824-2577