Appeal to the Mind


Rhetorical fallacies are subtle errors in speech and writing. – The manipulation of rhetoric and logical thinking. The following fallacies can be categorised as ‘Appeal to the Mind’.

Appeal to anonymous authority

Using evidence from an unnamed ‘expert’ or ‘study’ or generalized group  (like ‘scientists’) to claim something is true.

“They say that it takes 7 years to digest chewing gum.”

Appeal to authority

Claiming something is true because an unqualified or untrustworthy ‘expert’ says it is.

“Over 400 prominent scientists and engineers dispute global warming.”

Appeal to common practice

Claiming something is true because it’s commonly practiced.

“This bank has some problems with corruption. But there’s nothing going on here that doesn’t go on in all the other banks.”

Appeal to ignorance

A claim is true simply because it has not been proven false (or false because it has not been proven true).

“Nobody has proved to me there is a God. So there is no God.”

Appeal to incredulity

Because a claim sounds unbelievable, it must not be true.

“The eye is an incredibly complex biochemical machine with thousands of interlocking parts. How could that exist without an intelligent designer?”

Appeal to money

Supposing that, if someone is rich or something is expensive, then it affects the truth of the claim.

“If it costs more, it must be better.”

Appeal to novelty

Supposing something is better because it is new or newer.

“Awesome! The latest version of this operating system is going to make my computer faster and better.”

Appeal to popular belief

Claiming something is true because the majority of people believe it.

“Milk is good for your bones.”

Appeal to probability

Assuming because something could happen, it will inevitably happen.

“There are billions of galaxies with billions of stars in the universe. So there must be another plant with intelligent life on it.”

Appeal to tradition

Claiming something is true because it’s (apparently) always been that way.

“Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Therefore gay marriage is wrong.”

See other: Rhetorical Fallacies

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