Accounting for the force of the appeal to authority

Posted on 1 June 11


Goodwin, Jean. (2011). Accounting for the force of the appeal to authority. In F. Zenker (Ed.), Argumentation: Cognition and Community. Proceedings of the 9 th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation (OSSA), May 18-21, 2011. Windsor, ON .

As appeals to expert authority shift from “fallacies” to “argument schemes,” argumentation theorists are called on to provide critical questions for assessing them. I argue that current treatments focus too heavily on assessing expertise, and not enough on judging trustworthiness. I propose instead a normative pragmatic account of the rational force of the appeal to expert authority, one that emphasizes the expert’s actions in constructing his/her own legitimate trustworthiness.

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