Talk:Argument from authority

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Haight source[edit]

This source keeps getting added and removed, added and removed. What is the problem with it? It is straightforward. 196.52.39.34 (talk) 02:12, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

It's not straightforward. First of all, the source itself is not very good. The bulk of peer-reviewed research we have on this matter says that appeals to authority are not fallacious. If someone writes a scholarly paper arguing otherwise, that's one thing. But this is just three lines from a textbook. It doesn't even define what it means by "appeal to authority," nor does it cite any sources, nor does it address the consensus for the alternative view. And, I think most importantly, it's not offering the thesis that appeals to authority are fallacies and defending this thesis against academic scrutiny; it's just presenting students with a view that the author presupposes. Including this source in the article - especially by just reporting its view as fact - would be massively disproportionate to the place that it has in the relevant scholarship.
Second, even if this were a good source, it doesn't say that "one must be careful not to consider an appeal to authority to be proof of any claim." It says that appeals to authority are fallacies. I'm not even sure what the claim in parentheses means. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 15:49, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I’ve gone ahead and made an account, this is the same person as the IP.
What the literature says is that the appeals aren’t strictly fallacies. It says
they can have evidentiary value. Which is the case, but many talk about how the
arguments by themselves do not serve as proof; they are in essence shorthand for
the arguments that should be being used by authorities. So, like the Haight
source says, an especially in the context of logic, they cannot serve as proofs,
strictly speaking.
In a way that is like using the statement “If X then your argument is false. X
is true. Therefore your argument is false” itself as proof without X actually
representing anything. Your logic flows right but the argument is false.
Similarly, an appeal to authority functions as proof to the same extent as the
arguments someone knowledgeable on the subject would give would. Moltenflesh (talk) 12:41, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
many talk about how the arguments by themselves do not serve as proof... I have literally only ever read one person say that, and that is a person who has demonstrated a truly profound ignorance of philosophy, logic and good sense, as well as a marked absence of any recognizable integrity. The fact that you assert that "many" say something does not, in any way, give you license to deceive unwary readers by adding a citation to a claim which is not supported by that source. That is the end of the discussion with regards to this. Continued efforts to argue that we should lie about what a source says in order to stress a point that was imagined up by a random person with no recognizable expertise in the subject will not turn out well for you. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:26, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Like User: Jeremy Konopnicki talked about, you already said it was alright with you if it was on the page. You directly said in Archive 9 it would be supported by the source, and uncontroversial enough. User:Jeremy Konopnicki wants to add the EXACT language you give there for that. Moltenflesh (talk) 03:51, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
As far as the arguments not serving as proof by themselves people talk about that all over the place. Look at [[1]] under the section "Rationalism and the Foundations of Economics" for a good discussion of the reasons why. Authorities' opinions change generation to generation so how could an appeal to them be considered proof in itself? It is only useful as shorthand for the proof that they know, assuming they know some. Moltenflesh (talk) 03:51, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Another example is the article "Newton's Sleep: Anti-Science and Organic Daydreams" by Ramond Tallis, which talks about how "argument[s] from authority (except insofar as writers may refer to others' findings in published papers which have been peer-reviewed for rigour of method and statistical analysis) are unacceptable". So the argument from authority works only insofar as you're referring to someone's evidence and data. Without that basis it is, like that source says, unacceptable.
What if it were to be changed to saying that one must be careful not to take an appeal to authority by itself as the proof of any claim? I think that would show what we're both trying to get at. Moltenflesh (talk) 04:04, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
So, like the Haight source says, an especially in the context of logic, they cannot serve as proofs, strictly speaking.
But, as I said in my previous comment, the Haight source doesn't say that. Here is the complete text of the source's remarks on appeals to authority:

(C) APPEAL TO AUTHORITY (Ad auctoritatem)

'God/Freud/Marx/Stephen Hawking says so. Therefore it's true.'

(Statements are true or false because of what they say, not who says them. So it is knowing your subject that makes you an authority, not being an authority that makes you know your subject.)

There's nothing whatsoever here about how "one must be careful not to consider an appeal to authority to be proof of any claim." And since I've already made this point a couple times now, I think that if someone wants to keep making that claim, they need to show how they're getting it out of the source. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 02:29, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Didn't you see the part where it says "X is an authority and X says P [therefore] P" is "clearly invalid"? Or on page 34 with the discussion about Freud? Moltenflesh (talk) 03:51, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Didn't you see the part where it says "X is an authority and X says P [therefore] P" is "clearly invalid"?
I do see that part. However, to go from that claim to the claim that appeals to authority "cannot serve as proofs" or "are in essence shorthand for the arguments that should be being used by authorities" would be synthesis. Furthermore, it would be bad synthesis. In the first place, to say that an argument is not logically valid is not to say that it is a mere stand-in for an argument being made by an authority. And, in the second place, the point of the passage to which you refer is not that appeals to authority are invalid and therefore fallacious. Rather, the point is that any argument can be analyzed into a logical form that is invalid; thus being analyzable as logically invalid is not sufficient for actually being logically invalid (see the example further down the page where the appeal to authority is presented as valid), let alone for being a fallacy.
Or on page 34 with the discussion about Freud?
I do, but again you don't say how you're drawing, out of these remarks, the claim that you want included in the article.
From some of what you say, it seems like maybe what you want the article to say is that appeals to authority are only defeasible arguments, in the sense that they give evidence for their conclusion but don't show that it's a necessary consequence of the premises. But the article says that, in the first section after the lede. I would be in favor of moving the adjective "defeasible" into the first sentence. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 04:28, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
It gives an example of an argument from authority being used in a proof, and
then calls it invalid. In what way could it more clearly be saying that they
don’t constitute valid proofs?
Like I said earlier to User:Mjolnirpants, 'Look at
[[2]] under the
section 'Rationalism and the Foundations of Economics' for a good discussion of
the reasons why. Authorities` opinions change generation to generation so how
could an appeal to them be considered proof in itself?'.
The clear conclusion from all this is the same as the article "Newton's Sleep:
Anti-Science and Organic Daydreams" by Ramond Tallis, which talks about how
'argument[s] from authority (except insofar as writers may refer to others'
findings in published papers which have been peer-reviewed for rigour of method
and statistical analysis) are unacceptable'. So the argument from authority
works only insofar as you're referring to someone`s evidence and data. Without
that basis it is, like that source says, unacceptable.
How about it were to be changed to saying that 'one must be careful not to take an
appeal to authority 'by itself' as proof of any claim'; and cite all three of
these? I think that would show what exactly is being said more clearly. Moltenflesh (talk) 00:42, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It gives an example of an argument from authority being used in a proof, and then calls it invalid. In what way could it more clearly be saying that they don’t constitute valid proofs?

The source says that the specific example in question is invalid. Then it goes on to give, at the bottom of the same page, a formally valid version of an appeal to authority. So, clearly, the source is not saying that appeals to authority are categorically invalid. And this is something I already laid out in my previous comment. Again, I find myself wondering how this conversation is meant to proceed reasonably if, in rejecting my claims, you are not going to specifically address the reasons that I give in support of them.

As to the piece by Hoppe, it mentions arguments to authority only briefly, in chiding McCloskey for "an uncritical appeal to and acceptance of authority." The notion that you're trying to support here about a distinction between "evidentiary value" and "proof in itself" is simply not present in the text. And, in any case, this is 1) clearly a contentious position, as Hoppe himself presents it, and 2) being contended in a journal of economics. Given that this is an article about logic and epistemology, reliable sources ought to be those that have gone through the peer review process of logicians and philosophers, and we ought to be citing sources that represent consensus in the relevant fields.

The clear conclusion from all this is the same as the article "Newton's Sleep: Anti-Science and Organic Daydreams" by Ramond Tallis, which talks about how 'argument[s] from authority (except insofar as writers may refer to others' findings in published papers which have been peer-reviewed for rigour of method and statistical analysis) are unacceptable'. So the argument from authority works only insofar as you're referring to someone`s evidence and data. Without that basis it is, like that source says, unacceptable.

Well, a few points about this. First, this isn't a work on logic, so it's again odd to find it offered up here. Why not instead go to the works on logic and see what they have to say? Frankly, this comes across as if the literature is being scoured for oblique references to the preferred position, rather than the claim itself being derived from a review of the literature.

Second, Tallis is only talking about the context of science, not about the general appropriateness of using appeals to authority. This is related to the first point: Tallis isn't trying to write about logic - which is the general study of forms of argument in abstraction from content, and thus from specific disciplines - so to generalize his claim about arguments in a specific discipline to a claim about arguments in general would not only be synthesis, but unsound synthesis.

Finally, and all that being said, I do agree that appeals to authority ultimately derive their legitimacy from the assumption that the authority ultimately derives her view from actual research. And I would welcome the addition of a source that says so. But the sources being cited here mostly do not say so. I think what we ought to do is go to a reliable source squarely on the subject of logic, and draw from its discussion of the underpinnings of strong appeals to authority. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 03:16, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

It gives an example the logic of which technically the logic would work if the premises
were true, but it still says of that that it has a "false or fishy premise". It
discusses, with the Freud example, that you should "ask why. Sometimes the
answer may lead you to decide that the implicit premise is neither fishy nor
false, after all; but such premise needs defending". So to truly establish that
an argument from authority works in a particular instance, you have to justify
why the authority’s words mean that something should be believed.
The distinction between "evidentiary value" and "proof in itself" lies right
there. If simply appeal to authority establishes that you should believe
something, then criticizing someone for "uncritical appeal to and acceptance of
authority" would make no sense.
Every article on this website accepts peer-reviewed, published journal articles.
When such an article has a section that talks about logic or epistemology, it
might as well be the subject of the entire article. The citability of things
from a reliable source isn’t a function of the percentage of time the source
spends talking about them. That said, the In Defense of Extreme Rationalism
paper is all about epistemology and philosophy: what subject does the
philosophy of the Rationalism that is it defending falls into if not
epistemology and philosophy?
Are you saying that the article "Newton's Sleep: Anti-Science and Organic
Daydreams" is not a reliable source? If not, then it doesn`t matter if it is
written specifically about logic. It is a reliable, reviewed source making relevant
comments and so we can cite it.
Appeals to authority, of course, don't only take place in the context of logic.
If anything, their most common use is when talking about science. I`ve never
even heard of someone making an appeal to authority on strictly logical matters.
If we used that sort of reasoning, we couldn’t call the appeal to popularity or the
appeal to poverty or all sorts of other arguments fallacious. Abstracted from
content, "If X is poor, then what they say is true. X says Y. Therefore Y" is
100% valid logic. Its only by examining the real-world shortcomings of that sort
of appeal that we see the fallacy.
But if you'd like to see them on the page here, there are plenty of reliable sources specifically
about epistemology and logic that say this as well. The book Readings in
Argumentation [[3]] on page
345-346 for example says "an appeal to authority may not be considered
fallacious for Woods and Walton if the authority is an expert. However, If I am
also an expert in the field with access to other information, such an appeal
should not be strong...I should rely on my own reasoning...If there are more
objective ways to determine the truth of a position, even a strong appeal to
authority would be of little use". Moltenflesh (talk) 07:53, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
So to truly establish that an argument from authority works in a particular instance, you have to justify why the authority’s words mean that something should be believed. The distinction between "evidentiary value" and "proof in itself" lies right there. If simply appeal to authority establishes that you should believe something, then criticizing someone for "uncritical appeal to and acceptance of authority" would make no sense.
Well, again, that's your synthesis of the sources. You want to say something about "proof in itself" (the meaning of which remains unclear to me), but not finding it in any source, you instead infer it from a reference to "uncritical appeal to and acceptance of authority."
Again, I have to ask what you're trying to say here that isn't already covered by the acknowledgement that appeals to authority are defeasible. Further, if you'd like to include more information on this point, why not draw from the extensive discussion in the already-cited Walton book, for example section 7.3 "Critical Questions For The Appeal To Expert Opinion", rather than trying to interpret unrelated sources into saying what you want them to say?
Every article on this website accepts peer-reviewed, published journal articles. When such an article has a section that talks about logic or epistemology, it might as well be the subject of the entire article. The citability of things from a reliable source isn’t a function of the percentage of time the source spends talking about them. Are you saying that the article "Newton's Sleep: Anti-Science and Organic Daydreams" is not a reliable source? If not, then it doesn`t matter if it is written specifically about logic. It is a reliable, reviewed source making relevant comments and so we can cite it.
You're simply mistaken. See WP:RSCONTEXT. And while you're at it, please see the note at WP:SCHOLARSHIP regarding primary sources. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 16:38, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
I think you’re having a misunderstanding about the stuff about synthesis. It isn’t synthesis to restate what someone is saying in different words. If a source says something like ``the Confederacy lost the Civil War``, it wouldn’t be synthesis to render this information in the article as ``the South was not victorious in the Civil War`` if that was a better fit for the particular synthesis.
Synthesis is drawing a conclusion from multiple sources that isn’t stated in any of them. In this case, the sources are all stating the same thing just with wording that’s a bit different depending on their particular topics.
These sources are not unrealated and they are directly saying what I am saying. Are papers about the epistemology rationalism and Readings in Argumentation not relevant to a page about philosophy, epistemology and argumentation? You wanted sources directly written about the topic at hand, these are
WP:RSCONTEXT talks about information provided ``in passing``. These sources are written to address matters of epistemology.
Many many many sources say this same thing: the root of the reliability of an argument from authority is ultimately the evidence the authority should be deriving their belief from rather than the authority itself. This is a very important distinction that can become lost on a lot of people, who seem to view the words of an authority as something that creates almost an obligation for belief by their mere word. (And this leads to frequent problems; like this source talks about, “the substitution of authoritative pronouncements for first‐hand investigation makes reporters vulnerable to hoaxes and bias”).
Take this source for another example. In the Argument from Authority section, it talks about how ``It is reasonable to give more credence to the claims of those with the proper background, education, and credentials, or to be suspicious of the claims of someone making authoritative statements in an area for which they cannot demonstrate expertise. But the truth of a claim should ultimately rest on logic and evidence, not on the authority of the person promoting it.`` Moltenflesh (talk) 02:34, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Synthesis is drawing a conclusion from multiple sources that isn’t stated in any of them. In this case, the sources are all stating the same thing just with wording that’s a bit different depending on their particular topics.
But the sources are not all saying the same thing. Haight is saying that appeals to authority are fallacies, Hoppe is saying that there's a problem with "uncritical" appeals to authority, and Tallis is saying that appeals to authority are only accepted by scientists under certain conditions. Whatever "one must be careful not to consider an appeal to authority to be proof of any claim" is supposed to be paraphrasing, it clearly can't be paraphrasing these three disparate theses.
WP:RSCONTEXT talks about information provided ``in passing``. These sources are written to address matters of epistemology.
Epistemology is a broad sub-field of philosophy - on one common way of carving up the discipline, it accounts for roughly a third of it. The fact that a paper is about some topic in epistemology hardly means that every single thing it mentions within the field of epistemology is a "principal topic[]" of the paper.
And this leaves completely unaddressed my equally significant concern about primary sources.
Many many many sources say this same thing: the root of the reliability of an argument from authority is ultimately the evidence the authority should be deriving their belief from rather than the authority itself.
I agree with the sentence in bold, and I've said as much already. The issues that I have are: 1) the proposed sources aren't very good; 2) they don't say this anyway. Find a good, secondary source that says this and I have no qualms with including it in the article. Hell, since I have a copy of the Walton book, I'll do it myself if I can find a section where he talks about this. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 03:07, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
  • @Moltenflesh: Continued pushing of this line of argument will only result in another, more thorough SPI, and we both know what the result of that would be. A VPN is not a magic bullet against a Checkuser, and it's already been established that there's a strong technical possibility that you are Perf.
So, if you would like to remain a participant here, kindly drop the matter. There are no arguments sufficient to justifying us lying about what a source says. None whatsoever. This includes your own (rather unsophisticated, but I'm not going to engage with it) line of reasoning. So stop. Go find new sources to say novel things about the argument, or work on formatting, syntax and spelling issues with the article. But stop pushing this. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:44, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Any sort of investigation would have to be more thorough that the
investigation there. I`d 100% welcome any sort of actual investigation, I can
provide any sort of evidence they`d like. If you suspect something, then I
encourage you: please launch an investigation. If there`s anything we both
know, it`s that 'technical reasons' means 'a hunch that lead to a hairtrigger
banning'. Like we saw happen in .5 seconds to User:Nfitz.
Then once it clears me I can propose one about you and
User:Lord_Mondegreen’s suspiciously similar behavior.
Now here`s a riddle for you: if this is lying about what a source says, why did
you yourself say that it 'would be supported by the source'? Are you saying that
you were lying? Moltenflesh (talk) 00:42, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
::Then once it clears me I can propose one about you and User:Lord_Mondegreen’s suspiciously similar behavior. LOL Please, do. WP:SPI is right there. Be my guest. I'll even share the contents of my watchlist with you. We both know who you are. What you probably don't know is that nobody really cares until you become a problem. Which you seem to be working hard at doing.
if this is lying about what a source says, why did you yourself say that it 'would be supported by the source'? Oh yeah, as if I needed any more evidence of who you are, you come out with this gem. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:19, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
So you proposed it again, this time accusing me of being still another person,
and I was vindicated once again. Is that finally enough to satisfy your
hairtrigger paranoia? I am neither of the people you have suggested and will be
none of the people you could suggest. I value my privacy and don’t like leaving
any digital trails, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to get doxxed based on the
thinnest little threads of evidence. I’ve been editing for quite a while using
IPs and if I need to be involved in something or have a discussion I make an
account for that and that only. Ironically, following the rules on this page so
that I wouldn’t look to be socking is what made me vulnerable to accusations of
it: I didn’t want to give the appearance of socking by having the discussion
from multiple IPs so I made this account.
And what do you mean "come out with this gem"? It is an exact quote you
directly said in Archive 9 about the exact wording User: Jeremy Konopnicki
wants to add to the article: "would be supported by the source, and
uncontroversial enough". If that wording is lying about what the source says, then are you
saying that you were lying? Moltenflesh (talk) 07:53, 22 July 2017 (UTC)


@Lord Mondegreen: you know what the Haight sources can be used for? For the structure it gives, in which it presents the conclusion as logically certain and identifies that as a fallacy. What do you think about adding a fallacious example to the structure section and pointing out the difference? (I know one of the used sources points out the difference, I'd just have to figure out which one.) ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:50, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

  • I won't comment on what should be in the article - as I'm quite ignorant in the topic area - and I don't really understand it, and that's after investing at least 6 seconds of my time trying to understand it, while multi-tasking, before I lost interest - the only curiosity I have about Haight is if I can use it in Scrabble. But simply have this discussion on a factual basis. It violates WP:AGF to be working on the basis that anyone here is a sock, and having debates about it is pointless - and not the appropriate forum.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nfitz (talkcontribs) 23:34, July 20, 2017 (UTC)
Well, please don't forget to sign your comments, and also see WP:PACT. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:40, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Looks like a WP:REALLY candidate. Nfitz (talk) 17:25, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, you'd be the only one who thinks so. If you don't have anything to say about the article, then you should probably stop commenting here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:06, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Then play nicely, and leave me out of it. Nfitz (talk) 07:22, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Facepalm. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:00, 22 July 2017 (UTC)


I ended up on the talk page after reading this

"It is well known as a fallacy, though it is most often used in a cogent form.[5] It avoids being fallacious when arguers agree on the reliability of the authority in the given context.[6][7]"

right on top. I then read on the parts "Valid forms" and "Fallacious forms". Now I read the discussion on the Haight source and OMG the irony. Logically, an argument from authority is a fallacy. The information of authorship might be interesting but can never be an argument. Under "Fallacious forms" the article currently says

"This form of the argument occurs when the presumed authority appealed to is compromised in some way; such as being an expert in the wrong subject or is giving views from one side of an active controversy.[24] Some examples of this are citing a popular astrophysicist for claims about molecular biology; an Olympic athlete's endorsement of a product they do not use;[26][27] or a long retired professor's claims about a current debate in their field."

This is missing the point entirely. An appeal to a legitimate expert is still a fallacy. The validity of an argument can only be about the content, never about the authorship. But, regarding how Wikipedia relies on references - and this debate is called the "Haight source", I probably have to back this up with some authoritative quote. Just because arguments from authorities are extremely common as rhetorical technique in all kinds of debates, it does not make them any less fallacious. Heck, maybe I find a source and come back here ... and in that case logic will change and what was wrong before will henceforth be right. Ruben.moor (talk) 15:48, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Yeah Ruben.moor this whole page is in need of serious work. If you look back at past versions from earlier this year, it used to accurately reflect that these were fallacious, with reliable sources and examples to back that up. Moltenflesh (talk) 05:51, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
It has been changed to incorporate some of those old sources thank you for pointing them out Haaretz8794 (talk) 10:52, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I appreciate your work on the sources! With the article in its current form, a reader can find some sort of a balanced view on the topic, which is nice. (I also appreciate the specific mentioning of science - there is potential for quarrel there, though, when I think about the 97%-consensus on climate change). Maybe that's all I can ever ask from a good encyclopedia. But I want to make a suggestion here: Let's say this.
The term "argument from authority" can be understood in two different ways. Sometimes an argument from an authority is simply an "expert opinion". Expert knowledge, even though not technically proof, is trusted and built upon in all kinds of practical situations and even in a-priori-sciences like maths, where a deductive chain of arguments based on first principles exists (for obvious reasons of practicality). In the context of logical fallacies, the "argument from authority" is a fallacy in the sense that only the contents of an argument can determine its validity. The support of an argument based on authority or reputation can not. This latter point is debated and - as a compromise - an argument from authority is thought of as cogent, if both sides of the discussion agree on the reliability of an authoritative source.
I have to admit though, that currently the introducing sentence is more concise than my suggestion and work is needed rather in the part "Forms". Ruben.moor (talk) 13:07, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Aquinas[edit]

MjolnirPants, the reasons you gave for reverting my edit are way off-base.

Firstly, it is policy that citing primary sources is completely fine in cases like this. WP:PRIMARY clearly states ``primary sources that have been reputably published may be used in Wikipedia… Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge``.

Seeing as what it says is lifted directly from the text and there is 0 interpretation involved, it is indisputable that this fits with WP:PRIMARY. A secondary source wouldn’t even be useful here, it would just at best be giving the same quote as you can find in the text itself.

But even more ridiculous is that calling a text from the Medieval Age ``early`` is WP:SYNTH. What? ``The Medieval era was a long time ago`` is a matter of WP:BLUE. Plus, only one source is being cited, so this is not synthesis by definition as that requires multiple sources. This is more, frankly, bizarre reasoning like you arguing above that a statement you yourself supported was a lie about what a source said.

Given these, I'm re-adding it for now. Moltenflesh (talk) 01:52, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

It's shocking how badly one can fail at using logic in an argument about logic, but here we are... ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:01, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Things like that aren't helpful...this is simply a matter of policy. Let's keep it focused: does the quote not fit precisely with what WP:PRIMARY says there? Moltenflesh (talk) 02:08, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Since Aquinas is paraphrasing Boethius, wouldn't it make more sense to include Boethius as the "early mention"? Lord Mondegreen (talk) 01:42, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Firstly, Lord Mondegreen, can you show me anywhere at all that any policy says consensus is needed for an edit? If edits needed everyone’s approval then half the pages on this site would never change. Not to mention that the only person who had voiced any objection did so based on clear misapplication of policy like we see above.
Rather, since we have a reliable source that directly gives this information, you need good reason to remove it. You said that it ``do[es] not represent Aquinas' considered view``. Would you care to elaborate on this? He elaborates on these thoughts in the passage and says near the conclusion of them ``Appeal to an authority which depends on human reason is the weakest kind of proof. Appeal to an authority founded on divine revelation is the most telling``. He is absolutely saying that an appeal to a (human) authority is the weakest sort of proof (though, bear in mind, it does function as a proof in his eyes). This is a fundamental part of the section.
And Boethius is included as an early mention there as well. Having them both isn’t mutually exclusive. If you’d like him there, deleting the entire thing outright makes no sense; expand it by providing a direct Boethius quote. Moltenflesh (talk) 04:03, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Firstly, Lord Mondegreen, can you show me anywhere at all that any policy says consensus is needed for an edit? If edits needed everyone’s approval then half the pages on this site would never change. Not to mention that the only person who had voiced any objection did so based on clear misapplication of policy like we see above.
The point, of course, is not that you're making an edit while one other person disagrees; the point is that you're making the same edit, repeatedly, in spite of ongoing resistance and discussion on the talkpage. The relevant policy, as you probably know, is WP:EDITWAR. And I'm at least the third person to point this out: User:Vanamonde93 did so here, and User:Johnuniq did so here.
Rather, since we have a reliable source that directly gives this information, you need good reason to remove it. You said that it ``do[es] not represent Aquinas' considered view``. Would you care to elaborate on this? He elaborates on these thoughts in the passage and says near the conclusion of them ``Appeal to an authority which depends on human reason is the weakest kind of proof. Appeal to an authority founded on divine revelation is the most telling``. He is absolutely saying that an appeal to a (human) authority is the weakest sort of proof (though, bear in mind, it does function as a proof in his eyes). This is a fundamental part of the section.
Pace your interpretation, Aquinas is not saying that appeals to human authority are the weakest sort of proof. And, pace your interpretation, when he refers to "appeals to authority founded on divine revelation," he is not referring to appeals to divine authority. Rather, he is referring to appeals to authoritative human reports of what has been divinely revealed - as is clear from his reference to "the authority of those who received revelation."
Interpretive errors like this are precisely what we are trying to avoid in insisting on using secondary sources and sticking carefully to the claims that they actually make.
And Boethius is included as an early mention there as well. Having them both isn’t mutually exclusive. If you’d like him there, deleting the entire thing outright makes no sense; expand it by providing a direct Boethius quote.
No, they're not mutually exclusive, it's just that it's weird to refer to Aquinas's quotation of Boethius as an "early" treatment of appeals to authority when Boethius is about twice as far in the past. But the bigger issue is that Boethius's view isn't Aquinas's view. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 04:46, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
↑ What he said. Johnuniq (talk) 04:52, 2 August 2017 (UTC)]
There was no ongoing discussion. I went four days between the edits, during which time nothing else was said to my reply. The sole objector was using an incorrect interpretation of the relevant policies, as was seen. If I had known that you objected to it, I would have discussed it here first – I do apologize if it gave the appearance of edit warring, that truly wasn’t my intention
Aquinas certainly is saying ``that appeals to human authority are the weakest sort of proof``. The text directly and plainly as day says this, and every secondary source states this as well.
[4], citing this passage, says ``Aquinas was the last man to think that philosophical problems can be settled by appeal to great names. `Argument from authority based on human reason is the weakest` (ST, 1a, 1, 8 ad 2). In other words, an argument in favor of a given philosophical or scientific position is the weakest sort of argument when it rests simply on the prestige attaching to the name of an eminent philosopher or scientist. What counts is the intrinsic value of the argument, not the reputation of someone who has sponsored it in the past``.
[5] says that his point in this section is: “In the Middle Ages the argument from authority was considered the weakest form of argument. However the authority he quotes is usually, but not always, a quote from scripture, the author of which actually created the Universe, and so this authority would be so certain that one can literally accept it on faith over and above the argument based on reason…``
[6]: ``As warned Thomas Aquinas, the argument from authority is always the weakest``.
[7] talks about how ``Dean Pound apparently falls into an error common to many lawyers who have not read deep into the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, especially into his Summa Theologica. Dean Pound says, `Reason was appealed to, to sustain authority. But the reason appealed to was a reason itself resting on authority`…on the philosophical level it is expressly refuted by St. Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that `argument from authority based on human reason is the weakest…```
[8] cites how ``Thomas Aquinas himself called the argument from authority the weakest of all philosophical arguments``.
And so on. Secondary sources all verify that that is what this is saying. I find it interesting that you insist on secondary sources, but give none for your claim that ``Aquinas is not saying that appeals to human authority are the weakest sort of proof``, which is simply asserted in your reply without source or argument.
If you’d like Boethius directly cited feel free to add him. My goal here is simply to add an edit that was unfairly removed. Since you object to the word ``early``, I’ll change it to ``Medieval``. Moltenflesh (talk) 09:09, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Removing the History section[edit]

What would people think about removing the History section? I feel like it delays readers from getting into the meat of the issue and that it doesn't really contribute a whole lot to understanding it. AlphabeticThing9 (talk) 00:15, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

I decided to remove it, but someone can absolutely feel free to add it back if they feel that it is worthwhile. AlphabeticThing9 (talk) 02:58, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I think it is worthwhile. Many Wikipedia articles (perhaps most) have a History section, usually placed immediately after the lede. All Wikipedia articles having two or more sections have an index; this allows readers to go directly to the section of greatest interest to them. A History section need not delay readers from "getting into the meat of the issue." I am willing to restore the History section but I will wait a day or two and see what others think. Dolphin (t) 03:42, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
History sections are standard and it should be restored (permalink). While we're here, why should the "divine revelation" material be removed (diff)? Johnuniq (talk) 04:13, 6 December 2017 (UTC)
I have restored the History section by reverting the last edit by AlphabeticThing9. See my diff. Dolphin (t) 11:46, 8 December 2017 (UTC)