We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Fallacy of Authority?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A fallacy of authority is a type of logical fallacy in which the authority of a person is taken as evidence that any statement he or she makes is true. This type of fallacy is often committed by someone who uses a statement made by someone else as evidence of a particular position on a subject. The area of expertise for that authority, however, may never be called into question and so the person may not truly be an authority in a relevant field. A fallacy of authority can also occur simply due to the fact that someone’s position as an authority in a subject does not make him or her infallible.

Also called an appeal to authority, a fallacy of authority is typically committed when someone uses a statement made by someone else as proof of a particular position. While this in and of itself is not grounds for a fallacy to have been committed, the authority of the person should be called into question. For example, just because someone is a successful business person who has made a great deal of money does not inherently mean that he or she can be a successful politician. This type of fallacy of authority is often committed when people associate success or knowledge in one field as being emblematic of overall success or knowledge in all fields.

A fallacy of authority can also occur when someone claims to be an authority on a particular subject, in which no reasonable authorities can truly exist. For example, if someone makes a claim, as an authority, about life on other planets, then this type of fallacy has likely been committed. Even an expert in the field of astronomy and the study of other worlds cannot be considered an authority on life on other worlds. This is simply due to limitations of human experience in this particular subject area, and any statements made by that person should be considered on their own merit and not by the authority of the speaker.

Anyone arguing for or against a particular point should also keep in mind that a fallacy of authority can also be committed unwittingly. Someone can be an authority in a relevant field, and still make a statement that is incorrect or untrue. Just because someone is an expert in mathematics, for example, does not mean that he or she could not be wrong about some aspect of math. To avoid a fallacy of authority, the message, rather than the messenger, should be considered and evaluated for validity.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.