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Does the term sophistry as it is used today demand intentional deception or does it also include well-crafted arguments based on faulty assumptions or the use of flawed reasoning?

I just glanced at Merriam-Webster.com and dictionary.com and they didn't define sophistry as an attempted deception, although MW characterized it as the use of subtly deceptive reasoning, which I guess does include the implication of intentional attempt to make someone believe that which is known to be false. However, the initial definitions at both sites didn't include that element and focused more on the fact that the arguments were false. I guess I am wondering how you gauge typical meaning now.

closed as off-topic by Drew, ab2, JEL, user140086, jimm101 Mar 15 '16 at 11:22

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  • I think “as it is used today” needs elaboration. The dictionary still says deceptive and that’s how I use it today. – Jim Mar 15 '16 at 0:12
  • @EdwinAshworth - well I could change it to say, “All the dictionaries Edwin looked in still say...” but I’m past the five-minute point. ;-) – Jim Mar 15 '16 at 0:21
  • Being "creative" with the definition of sophistry is merely practicing "good" sophistry. – Hot Licks Mar 15 '16 at 0:22
  • @Jim 'in the dictionary ...' is taboo on ELU. It's lacking attribution and implies that there is a consensus, when the writer has rarely bothered to check in more than one or two dictionaries. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 15 '16 at 0:24
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    I just glanced at Merriam-Webster.com and dictionary.com and they didn't include define sophistry as an attempted deception, although MW characterized it as the use of subtly deceptive reasoning, which I guess does include the implication of intentional attempt to make someone believe that which is known to be false. However, the initial definitions at both sites didn't include that element and focused more on the fact that the arguments were false. I guess I am wondering how you gauge typical meaning now. – Dalton Bentley Mar 15 '16 at 0:27
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The ODO definition:

sophistry [MASS NOUN]

1 The use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving:

trying to argue that I had benefited in any way from the disaster was pure sophistry

obviously allows for false arguments not 'intended to deceive' (and thus not recognised as false by their proponents).

However, ODO indicates that the intent to deceive is present in the default sense, which is the only sense given by some respected dictionaries.

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