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 Relevance?

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 relevance is one of several different types of fallacies in which an argument is either supported or refuted based on information that is actually irrelevant with regard to the argument being made. One of the most common fallacies of relevance is the use of ad hominem arguments, in which the character of a person making an argument is attacked as a way to discredit the argument without any actual points about the argument itself being made. A fallacy of relevance can also include different types of appeals, such as an appeal to authority or an appeal to ignorance.

The primary aspect of a fallacy of relevance is that someone attempts to support or discredit an argument based on information irrelevant to that argument. An ad hominem attack or argument is one of the simplest and most obvious ways in which this type of fallacy is committed. Perhaps “Bob,” for example, is arguing that convicted felons should be allowed to have the right to vote in the US. An ad hominem attack against Bob could include the fact that he is a convicted felon, probably with details about his crime and other information about his character meant to make him look bad. None of this information has anything to do with whether felons should be able to vote, however, so a fallacy of relevance has been committed.

Other common forms of fallacy of relevance include various appeals that are often made in an argument. An appeal to authority, for example, is an attempt to strengthen an argument based on the authority of the person who made it. This is the opposite of an ad hominem attack, and is used to suggest that the merits of the person making an argument should strengthen the argument itself. Since the person making a statement has no actual impact on the factual accuracy of a statement, however, this is also a fallacy of relevance.

An appeal to ignorance is also a common type of fallacy of relevance, in which someone supports his or her argument by stating that it has not been disproven. This type of argument is often used for claims that are currently difficult or impossible to fully disprove. An appeal to ignorance would be the argument that “Since no one has proven that life does not exist elsewhere in the universe, life must then exist elsewhere in the universe.” This is a fallacy of relevance, however, since it shifts the burden of proof away from the argument itself and onto the opposing viewpoint, which is irrelevant to the specific argument being made.

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.