One of the most widely recognized yet least well understood informal logical fallacies is the appeal to authority: the argumentum ad vericundiam. Most everyone understands that appealing to authority is, in some sense or other, an illegitimate move in any reasoned discussion. (If one doesn’t care a fig about reason, than any rhetorical move whatsoever becomes “legitimate,” which is to say, allowable provided you get away with it.) The problem here, though, is that if one could rigorously eschew all appeals to authority, not only would one avoid a particular fallacy, one would completely subvert the very possibility of reasoned discussion of any kind. Appeals to authority are not only constant, they are absolutely unavoidable in anything that might even barely resemble civilized existence. The problem, therefore, cannot be in the appeal to authority simply in itself, taken at face value.