In Greek, λογικοφανής is a word that describes a person who spits out seemingly logical statements. It often has a negative connotation as it is targeted towards people who tend to fool the public with supposedly beautifully-constructed thoughts that sound convincing in our ears but are not necessarily accurate. The first word that comes to mind is deceptive, but it is not quite what I look for. Any thoughts?


9 Answers 9


The word you may want to consider is sophist. What they do is called sophistry or sophism.


  1. A paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in Greece in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, associated in popular thought with moral scepticism and specious reasoning.

1.1A person who reasons with clever but false arguments.


In modern usage, sophism, sophist and sophistry are used disparagingly. A sophism is a fallacious argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive. A sophist is a person who reasons with clever but fallacious and deceptive arguments.


A clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive.


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

1.1 A fallacious argument.

If you are looking for the adjective, the word is sophistic, but I do not think it should be used for describing people, and it seems rare.


On the other hand, we have casuist


A person who uses clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions; a sophist.

  • 1
    This answer needs to be updated to include a definition
    – Jim
    Apr 26, 2020 at 15:10
  • The difference is that the being a "sophist" implies malicious intent, whereas "λογικοφανής" can be due to more benign reasons such as incomplete information or incomplete understanding of a situation.
    – user000001
    Apr 27, 2020 at 6:09
  • 1
    @user000001 I am not at all familiar with Greek, so I can hardly comment on that. However, Petros literally asked about a word which "has a negative connotation as it is targeted towards people who tend to fool the public", and that only constituted the basis for my answer. Apr 27, 2020 at 7:35
  • 2
    @user000001: sophist(ry) doesn’t necessarily imply malicious intent; note how the quoted definitions say “especially one used deliberately to deceive” (emphasis mine), i.e. often deliberate, but not exclusively so.
    – PLL
    Apr 27, 2020 at 10:36
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    @PLL: Yes I agree with you. It looks like OP had that interpretation in mind anyway given the quote in the question. When I left the comment, I had read title of the question and the answer, so I thought it would be useful to highlight the difference in meaning, because as a natively speaking Greek, the two words are not identical wrt intent, at least in Greek.
    – user000001
    Apr 27, 2020 at 10:59

How about specious?:

1 Superficially plausible, but actually wrong.

‘a specious argument’

More example sentences

1.1 Misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.

‘the music trade gives Golden Oldies a specious appearance of novelty’


If you are looking for a noun, "a fallacy" comes to mind. The adjective being "fallacious" ( a fallacious conclusion, a fallacious argument).

A fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning, or "wrong moves" in the construction of an argument. A fallacious argument may be deceptive by appearing to be better than it really is. From Wikipedia

fallacy - "an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference."
"The fallacy of their ideas about medicine soon became apparent."
"The once-common fallacy that girls just weren't any good at math."

A fallacy is reasoning that comes to a conclusion without the evidence to support it. This may have to do with pure logic, with the assumptions that the argument is based on, or with the way words are used, especially if they don't keep exactly the same meaning throughout the argument. There are many classic fallacies that occur again and again through the centuries and everywhere in the world. From MW

  • Actually "girls just weren't any good at math" is a misconception or myth rather than a fallacy: there is no argument there, just a belief which was wrong but widely held. Apr 27, 2020 at 15:59
  • @PaulJohnson It's a quotation, not my opinion.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 27, 2020 at 16:14

What is a word to describe one's thoughts that sound logical and reasonable but, in reality, they are not?

Those thoughts are illusional thoughts.


  • An erroneous perception of reality.
  • An erroneous concept or belief:
  • The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.
  • Something that is erroneously perceived or construed. (The free dictionary)

Illusional: marked by or producing illusion, unreal - lacking in reality or substance or genuineness; not corresponding to acknowledged facts or criteria.


  1. a false idea or conception; belief or opinion not in accord with the facts. a false appearance or deceptive impression of reality, a false or misleading perception or belief; delusion.

Example: he has the illusion that he is really clever.

  1. an unreal, deceptive, or misleading appearance or image.

Example: a large mirror giving the illusion of space in a small room

3a) a false perception, conception, or interpretation of what one sees, where one is, etc.

3b) the misleading image resulting in such a false impression. (From Collins English dictionary)



In the first meaning below.

verb (used with object), ra·tion·al·ized, ra·tion·al·iz·ing.

  1. to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
  2. to remove unreasonable elements from.
  3. to make rational or conformable to reason.
  4. to treat or explain in a rational or rationalistic manner.

from dictionary.com


delusion ~ noun uncommon 1. (psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary 2. a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea e.g., he has delusions of competence; his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination 3. the act of deluding; deception by creating illusory ideas

so delusional might be one possible word for which you're looking


logikos - logical

PHANE Meaning: "having the appearance of," from Greek -phanes,


plausible having an appearance of truth or reason; seemingly worthy of approval or acceptance; credible; believable: a plausible excuse; a plausible plot. well-spoken and apparently, but often deceptively, worthy of confidence or trust: a plausible commentator.


Plausibility reasoning in ancient Greece

During the fifth century B.C.E.,[2] judicial orators in Greek Sicily developed a method for successfully pleading their cases in such instances in which no eyewitnesses or written documents or other such direct evidence could be produced. They began to base their arguments on the internal or external probability or plausibility of their statements. This new way of arguing was commonly labeled with the Greek term eikós, a term that has been variously rendered as similarity, likelihood, probability or plausibility. The success of the argument depends on the oratorical skills of the speaker, arguments by eikós have often been accused of lack of truthfulness. Here is a classical example of argument by plausible reasoning presented by Aristotle in his Rhetoric:

"If the accused is not open to the charge – for instance if a weakling be tried for violent assault – the defence is that he was not likely (eikós) to do such a thing. But if he is open to the charge – that is, if he is a strong man – the defence is still that he was not likely (eikós) to do such a thing, since he could be sure that people would think he was likely (eikós) to do it."

The sophists, a sort of mendicant academicians were said to have been experts in this type of argumentation and they are said to have taught wealthy young Greeks these methods for a hefty fee. Plato and Aristotle strongly denounced these methods and the method came to acquire a lot of bad repute. Sophistic argumentation styles were equated with fallacious arguments.

  • 'Plausible reasoning' sounds spot-on, to me. Have to wait and see what OP says.
    – tblue
    Apr 26, 2020 at 19:00


noun plural noun: misapprehensions

a mistaken belief about or interpretation of something. "people tried to exchange the vouchers under the misapprehension that they were book tokens"




adjective: superficially plausible, but actually wrong. "a specious argument" misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.

"The music trade gives Golden Oldies a specious appearance of novelty"

From Dictionary.com.

  • 1
    What does this add beyond @user888379 's answer from earlier?
    – IronEagle
    Apr 27, 2020 at 17:27

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