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Appeal to Trust


Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Appeal to Trust

Description | Discussion | Example | See also



I am trustworthy, therefore everything I say must be true.

To use this, show you are trustworthy in some ways (such as being helpful or friendly) and then extend it to an assumption that because you can be trusted for some things you can therefore be trusted for all things.

You can also show credibility through things like your profession. 'Trust me, I'm a doctor' is a classic line that assumes doctors always tell the truth.


Glad to help a person who's so like me ... Could I ask you for something now? You're so kind.

I always make sure I deliver, as you know. And I need you to help me out. Could you?


Two of the key dimensions of trust are reliability and honesty. A person who is reliable can be trusted to keep promises and to stay trustworthy. A person who is honest tells the truth. If they are reliably honest, they always tell the truth.

A third dimension is care. We trust people who care about us and act in friendly ways. There are social rules that say you should trust people with who you have a social relationship, accepting what they say with little challenge. This is often used in arguing with friends and colleagues.

Trust is emotional. When I trust you, I do not question the logic of what you say -- I just trust that you are right. Consequently a person who has gained the trust of another can make a completely fallacious argument that will still be accepted.

The way we place trust in people is seldom by testing their ability to create logical arguments. Often it is because they are similar to us in some way, or are nice and friendly. We then bond with them and so trust them as we would trust ourselves.

There are other fallacies, such as Appeal to Authority, which have an underlying principle that the person should be trusted and not questioned.



See also

Trust, Similarity principle

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