The Argument Form "Appeal to Galileo": A Critical Appreciation of Doury’s Account

Maurice A Finocchiaro


Following a linguistic-descriptivist approach, Marianne Doury has studied debates about “parasciences” (e.g. astrology), discovering that “parascientists” frequently argue by “appeal to Galileo” (i.e., defend their views by comparing themselves to Galileo and their opponents to the Inquisition); opponents object by criticizing the analogy, charging fallacy, and appealing to counter-examples. I argue that Galilean appeals are much more widely used, by creationists, global-warming skeptics, advocates of “settled science”, great scientists, and great philosophers. Moreover, several subtypes should be distinguished; critiques questioning the analogy are proper; fallacy charges are problematic; and appeals to counter-examples are really indirect critiques of the analogy.


Analogy; Appeal to Galileo; Appeal to Unpopularity; Benveniste; Marianne Doury; Einstein; Galileo; Hume; Parasciences; Precedent

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ISSN: 0824-2577