ABSTRACT. This paper tries to analyse the posibility of using rationally public opinion as the foundation of the argumentum ad populum, endorsing its premise “everybody accepts or believes proposition X”, owing to the scientific nature of public opinion polls. Although usually the ad populum argument is labelled sophism by logic textbooks, its importance, especially in the democratic world, cannot be denied. At the same time, the outcome of the public opinion polls cannot be deemed infallible. This ambivalence of both, the ad populum argument and public opinion polls, leads towards a view of the interaction between them that keeps track of the typical circumstances where they are applied.


Keywords: ad populum, public opinion, argument, popular opinion, public opinion polls, sophism

Go to top