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Ipse dixit

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If you need to invoke your academic pedigree or job title for people to believe what you say, then you need a better argument.
Neil deGrasse Tyson[1]

Ipse dixit is a Latin phrase meaning "He himself said it."[2] It refers to what is basically an appeal to authority, with oneself as the authority. In other words, the perpetrator of an ipse-dixitism makes an unfounded assertion and expects his word to be the final say.

For example, Richard Mains asserts a privileged perspective because of his work in space industry without explaining the logic of the relationship between his claims and his claimed experience.[3]

Good old Ayn Rand used her genius to take ipse dixit to a quite superior level by quoting herself as an expert indirectly via some of her own made-up characters in novels. For instance, her book The Virtue of Selfishness states at the beginning, "Since I am to speak on the Objectivist Ethics, I shall begin by quoting its best representative — John Galt…"[4][5]:13 John Galt is a fictitious character in Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.


A says that X is true.
P2: (implicit) A gets to decide because A is an expert.
C: X is true.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. If you need to invoke your academic pedigree or job title for people to believe what you say, then you need a better argument by Neil deGrasse Tyson (12:41 PM - 23 Aug 2013) Twitter (archived from August 1, 2019).
  2. …And it's greatly to his credit, That he is an Englishman! That he is an E-E-E-E-Ennggglishman! HMS Pinafore, Gilbert and Sullivan.
  3. Spacefaring (2): Paths to Realization by Richard Mains (08/21/09) Commercial Space Gateway (archived from September 11, 2009).
  4. Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness by Glyn Hughes, Squashed Philosophers.
  5. The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism by Ayn Rand (1964) Signet.