I believe there must be a logical fallacy to describe a situation in which ownership of related items or paraphernalia ascribes (but only in the owner's mind) value, ability, or knowledge to said owner. The owner positions themselves as something of an expert on or using the thing(s) they own despite evidence to the contrary that is readily visible to everyone else.

Here are a few examples:

  • Owning a high-powered computer causes the owner to believe they are the best programmer (despite extensive peer-reviewed samples to the contrary)
  • Owning an expensive car causes the owner to believe they are a good driver (despite their driving record)
  • Owning numerous workshop tools causes the owner to believe they are good at wood working (despite their inability to create anything)
  • Owning a large library of books causes the owner to believe they're well-read (despite not having read most of the books they own)

This fallacy(?), when I've experienced it, seems to also come with a belief that others should agree about the expertise of the owner because "I think I know a little more about driving than you do. Have you seen my car?"

My best guess is from Wikipedia:

An argumentum ad crumenam argument, also known as an argument to the purse, is the informal fallacy of concluding that a statement is correct because the speaker is rich.

However, I'm not sure if the definition of "rich" could be applied in the way I've used it.

  • You have yourself a great label for the effects of conspicuous consumption.
    – Yosef Baskin
    Jun 23 '17 at 0:41
  • 1
    there is a western term that has some of the flavor "All Hat, no cattle". .. I'll keep thinking though
    – Tom22
    Jun 23 '17 at 0:49
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    You have also described the halo effect. Who says money can't buy me love? "With money in your pocket, you are wise, handsome, and you sing well too." - Yiddish proverb: uncommongoods.com/images/items/15200/15273_1_1200px.jpg
    – Yosef Baskin
    Jun 23 '17 at 1:08
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    @YosefBaskin My old family motto from the old country: 'True love almost always dies but money stays green for ever'. Evidently the nascent US took a leaf out of our humble shtetl life, nu?
    – Peter Point
    Jun 23 '17 at 1:41
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    @Peter Point Except in periods of high inflation. Or when invested in tulip bulbs.
    – ab2
    Jun 23 '17 at 2:51

It is not a logical fallacy. The syllogism implied is

Anyone who owns an expensive X is an expert on X's.

I own an expensive X.

Therefore I am an expert on X's.

It is a perfectly good syllogism. The problem is that the major premise is complete nonsense. Try responding with

Anyone who buys an absurdly expensive X clearly knows nothing about X's.

You own an absurdly expensive X.

Therefore you clearly know nothing about X's.

  • 2
    I think it's closer to affirming the consequent, (1) connoisseurs who can afford to, own Xs, (2) I own an X, so (3) I'm a connoisseur. Jun 23 '17 at 6:32

I don't think that there is a specific single fallacy for this line of reasoning. I think this is at least two fallacies. The overall fallacy that is being used here is appeal to authority in which he is implying that his argument must be accepted as valid because he is an authority on the subject - but in this case very likely a false authority. And he is also begging the question in the sense of assuming the truth of the premise that ownership of certain items makes him an authority on the issue being discussed.

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