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a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.
a false argument; sophism.
Contemporary Examples

One of the arguments for intervention arising from the Syria strikes relies on a bit of sophistry.
What Israel’s Attack Doesn’t Mean For American Intervention In Syria Ali Gharib May 5, 2013

No amount of rouge will ever camouflage rhetoric and sophistry.
Letter to a Young Critic: William Giraldi Defends True Criticism William Giraldi September 4, 2012

Historical Examples

Over this law, indeed, some sons of sophistry have been subtle enough to throw mists, which have darkened their own eyes.
The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., in Nine Volumes, Volume the Second Samuel Johnson

The reasoning may be plausible, but it is no better than sophistry.
Imogen William Godwin

But let us look at this subject a little, and see if there is not some sophistry concealed in this dexterous coil of words.
Calvinistic Controversy Wilbur Fisk

There is the sophistry of law, the sophistry of medicine, the sophistry of politics, the sophistry of theology.
Gorgias Plato

The sophistry of passion outweighs all that reason can urge.
The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 8 (of 12) Robert G. Ingersoll

The sophistry of human nature is far more subtle than the deceit of any one man.
Gorgias Plato

Manasseh38 disfigured this simple thought by Kabbalistic triviality and sophistry.
History of the Jews, Vol. V (of 6) Heinrich Graetz

Also there is a touch of irony in them, which takes them out of the category of sophistry.
Apology Plato

noun (pl) -ries

a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading
the art of using such arguments

subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning
an instance of this; sophism

“specious but fallacious reasoning,” mid-14c., from Old French sophistrie (Modern French sophisterie), from Medieval Latin sophistria, from Latin sophista, sophistes (see sophist). “Sophistry applies to reasoning as sophism to a single argument” [Century Dictionary].


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