Sunday, December 16, 2007

Logical Fallacies I have Known: Ad Hominem

Have you ever been involved in a debate when the argument turned personal? If so you have probably been the target of an ad hominem attack: an attempt to counter someone's claims or conclusions by attacking the other person instead of their position in the debate. This fallacy can take many forms and, for some reason, seems to be pervasive in American culture. Often this tactic is found on the playground but it seems to have made its way into our culture's collective consciousness as a viable strategy.

For instance, Paul Joseph Watson ( is arguing for reasons that Hillary Clinton would be good for America when Watson attacks Bush:

Bush has betrayed his fake Christian ethic even more times than he's flipped off a television camera. [1]

By using pejorative terms such as 'fake Christian ethic' and 'he's flipped off' Watson is not addressing the reasons for Hillary but rather attacking Bush's character - a common tactic in political rhetoric. This tactic does bypass the issue at hand and is an ad hominem fallacy.

-Safari Bob


No comments:

Post a Comment