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FALLACY OF FALSE AUTHORITY:

The logical fallacy of arguing that something is "correct" or "true" because an "expert" in an unrelated area says so. This is commonly used by both advertisers, politicians, and anyone who relies an "apparent expert" for the "correct" answers to controversial issues.
The fallacy of false authority is commonly used in political arenas and commercial advertising. Relying on experts, even though the experts are not really experts on the topic at hand, appears to give legitimacy to an argument. It is a powerful, but deceptive tool.

Suppose, for example, that Chip Merthington has been wrestling over the appropriate stabilization policy to use during a business-cycle contraction--monetary or fiscal. Chip's Uncle Clyde argues that fiscal policy is better because he does not trust monetary policy (and those devious fellows with the Federal Reserve System) since the local bank denied his loan application last year. Uncle Clyde is an excellent barber, the best in the tri-county area. He also makes an excellent pot of chili. But, he is not an expert on stabilization policies.

If Chip pleads with his Congressional delegation to choose fiscal policy over monetary policy, based on Uncle Clyde's "expert" advice, then he is committing the fallacy of false authority. Alternatively, Chip is also committing the fallacy of false authority if he accepts hairstyling advice from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. It works both ways.

Advertising, especially television commercials, is an activity that is most prone to commit the fallacy of false authority. Actors, actresses, athletes, celebrities, and others with recognizable faces offer their "expert" product evaluations. "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV. So you should buy this pain reliever." Very seldom do celebrity "experts" have any real expertise about the products they promote. A professional athlete might have insight into the best athletic shoe, but is unlikely to have any better knowledge about hamburgers than Chip's Uncle Clyde.

<= FALLACY OF DIVISIONFALLACY OF FALSE CAUSE =>


Recommended Citation:

FALLACY OF FALSE AUTHORITY, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: October 16, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | fallacies | fallacy of false cause | fallacy of personal attack | fallacy of mass appeal | fallacy of division | fallacy of composition |


Or For A Little Background...

     | scientific method | economic thinking | political views | government functions |


And For Further Study...

     | seven economic rules | four estates | sixth rule of ignorance | normative economics | economic science |


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