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Ad Hominem

An explanation of the logical fallacy of Ad Hominem
by

Mackenzie Bedwell

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of Ad Hominem

In Other Words... Example One "An overweight patient might reject the advice on diet by an overweight physician" Example Two... Definition 1.) [Latin, To the person.] A term used in debate to denote an argument made personally against an opponent, instead of against the opponent's argument. 2.) An ad hominem argument attacks the person, rather than the issue. The fact that someone is untrustworthy, for example, does not guarantee that the conclusion of their argument is wrong or that their argument is invalid. The question of whether or not such information is relevant can, however, be rather subtle, because a person's trustworthiness would legitimately lead to questioning what they say. In this video of the Jefferson and Adams campaign, we see attacks toward Adams and Jefferson instead of their arguments. This is a great example of an Ad hominem; their arguments are not presented and attacks are solely made by their personal lives. "In politics it is not uncommon for antagonists to attack each other for personal characteristics that may not be relevant to the tasks they will be elected to perform."(214) In the 1800s President Adams was attacked as a blind, cripple, bald, toothless man who would only bring monarchy to America. While Jefferson was accused that he would only bring murder, adultery, rape, incest and robbery. In this example we see how the patient may "ignore the validity of the advice," the overweight physician has to offer the patient (214). The patient may not realize the importance of the diet rather the fact of the physician being overweight. The patients may think, how can the physician talk about diet when they are overweight. Logical Fallacy There are many different interpretations of the logical fallacy of Ad Hominem, here are a few official interpretations... Example Three... "My opponent suggests that lowering taxes will be a good idea -- this is coming from a woman who eats a pint of Ben and Jerry’s each night!" In this last example opponent a attacks opponent b by the fact she eats a pint of Ben and Jerry's each night being that she likes ice cream has nothing to do with her suggestion of lowering taxes. "Ad hominem attacks are usually made out of desperation when once cannot find a decent counter argument" (Bennett, Bo). Ad Hominem Unlike other fallacies which attack the issue, an ad hominem attacks the person(s) behind the issue. For example the person stating the issue may not be well known among his audience therefore people will take his argument as being incorrect.

On a more personal level have you ever not liked someone or had a falling out and because they are the ones giving a speech you want nothing to do with the message itself let alone the entire event? That is considered an ad hominem; the information given may be remarkable, but because you dislike the person speaking it is wrong. http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/10-ad-hominem-abusive http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3437700113&v=2.1&u=ranc95197&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w

http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3424300269&v=2.1&u=ranc95197&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/10-ad-hominem-abusive
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