jump to last post 1-7 of 7 discussions (35 posts)

Ad Hominen Fallacy

  1. Beelzedad profile image61
    Beelzedadposted 6 years ago

    Description of Ad Hominem Fallacy:

    Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

    An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:

       1. Person A makes claim X.
       2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
       3. Therefore A's claim is false.

    The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).
    Example of Ad Hominem

       1. Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
          Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
          Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
          Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."
           
    ~~The Nizkor Project, 1991-2009

    smile

    1. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Ok. But I still say discounting everything out of hand without considering it is fuddy duddy science, and prone to be viewed with suspicion.

      1. Beelzedad profile image61
        Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        You're missing the point entirely. This has nothing to do with discounting out of hand or fuddy duddy science. smile

      2. jacharless profile image80
        jacharlessposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        lol Emile, that is a phenomenal expression! Haven't encountered that in years. Thank you, it just made my afternoon a bit more "chuckle-ier".

        James.

    2. Ron Montgomery profile image60
      Ron Montgomeryposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Ivan Nizkor was a known pedophile and sheep buggerer, so I really don't care about his views on the subject. mad

      1. Sally's Trove profile image98
        Sally's Troveposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        LOL!

      2. Greg Sage profile image60
        Greg Sageposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Man, the guy devotes his life to defining rhetorical devices, and you'd think they'd call him "Ivan the rhetorical genius."


        ... but you bugger one sheep...

      3. recommend1 profile image72
        recommend1posted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Perfect example of ad hominem riposte big_smile

  2. profile image0
    Valemanposted 6 years ago

    I had similar thoughts about the use of this term, following a recent debate on here, where it was used by a HubPages employee.  No matter what the personal views of a person, there are always going to be people who disagree strongly with them.  This however does not invalidate the views of person A.  Even when the person would seem to hold minority views, the fact that the majority would disagree with them does not invalidate them.  There was a time when Galileo suggested that the Sun was the centre of the solar system..  This was a minority view, rejected by the Church and society.  As it turns out, he was correct.  So, even when person A is rejected by not just person B, but by the majority, this in itself should not be taken as proof that person A is incorrect.

  3. Mark Ewbie profile image83
    Mark Ewbieposted 6 years ago

    Why is it so important to be RIGHT all the time?  People have different opinions, views.  It makes the world a less boring place.  Imagine if we all just thought the same thing.

    1. mathsciguy profile image61
      mathsciguyposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Normally, I will leave people to wallow in their ignorance because I know that most of them don't care anyhow.

      Only on matters where the outcome of their false ideas effects me in some way do I normally intervene.  For example, as a mathematician, I am statistically likely to be funded by a department of government in some capacity at some point in my life.  Therefore, when I notice that persons are falsely arguing a point in which the final decision could lead to reduction in the perceived need for research funding in sciences, then it becomes a relevant issue to me.

      In the other cases, it is a matter of academic integrity to me.  It is the responsibility of those who know what is right to share it with those who do not.  Note that this is not the same as academic evangelism, in which the object is to force feed academic knowledge to people.
      smile

  4. Jason Menayan profile image59
    Jason Menayanposted 6 years ago

    There is a difference between an ad hominem fallacy and an ad hominem attack.

    1. Beelzedad profile image61
      Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Fair enough, it would be great if you folks would spend the time to distinguish those differences for the members here. Don't you think if you did, the amount of such attacks would decrease, the reporting of such attacks would decrease and hence the amount of work you folks would need to do in these matters would decrease as would the bans.

      Seems like a win-win situation for all involved. smile

    2. Sally's Trove profile image98
      Sally's Troveposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      There is no difference. Once the ad hominem fallacy is used in a persuasive argument, it is by virtue of what it is, an attack, specifically against character. Any high-school debating team knows that using this fallacy negates the logic of an argument.

      1. Beelzedad profile image61
        Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Excellent point. That could very well be some of the false reasoning behind bans that were questioned or appeared unfair. It would seem that perhaps those who initiate the bans may not fully understand that. smile

        1. Sally's Trove profile image98
          Sally's Troveposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Not many have studied logic and its role in persuasion, nor false logic and its role in breeding misunderstanding and enmity.

      2. Jason Menayan profile image59
        Jason Menayanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        The difference is that an ad hominem attack isn't necessarily an attempt at logical argument. Some ad hominem attacks are made just out of malice, for instance (or trolling, or whatever).

        As I said before, ad hominem attacks are not allowed, whether they are an attempt at argument or something else altogether.

        1. EmpressFelicity profile image83
          EmpressFelicityposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          For the completely, er, clueless among us, can you give an example of someone using an ad hominem fallacy and an example of someone using an ad hominem attack?  Maybe you could create two forum posts by fictional HP members to show us the precise difference.

          1. Jason Menayan profile image59
            Jason Menayanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Ad hominem fallacy: "Your opinion against health care reform is meaningless, since you don't even have a college education." (Poor, fallacious argument)

            Ad hominem attack: "You're an idiot." (attack against a person)

            1. Mark Ewbie profile image83
              Mark Ewbieposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              So... just to get my head round this, might come in handy if say there was an argument over how to barbecue something.

              IF I were to say you cannot barbecue that way because you have your head stuck up your ass...

              What type of ad homithing is that?  And is it a ban?

              1. Jason Menayan profile image59
                Jason Menayanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                That would be both! lol

                1. Mark Ewbie profile image83
                  Mark Ewbieposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  Lol, and thanks for the response... I'll keep it in reserve.

              2. Sally's Trove profile image98
                Sally's Troveposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                Way to get to the point, Mark! Well done.

              3. profile image0
                Valemanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                'IF I were to say you cannot barbecue that way because you have your head stuck up your ass...

                What type of ad homithing is that?'

                I think that would be called flexibility.

            2. Beelzedad profile image61
              Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              There are four categories of Ad Hominem, that one is called the Ad Hominem Abusive.

              There are also the Ad Hominem Tu Quoque, Circumstantial and Guilt by Association fallacies. All of these should be well defined here in order for the TOS to be valid when it comes to Ad Hominems and banning.

              smile

              1. Greg Sage profile image60
                Greg Sageposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                Now that's just plain funny on multiple levels.

                TOS.  That's the problem.

                Good stuff.  Best laugh I've had all day.

                smile

            3. Beelzedad profile image61
              Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Hi Jason, I'm wondering if you folks will indeed take the time to explain and define the 'personal attack' rule for us so it is clear and well understood? As I mentioned earlier, it would be a win-win situation for all concerned. Or, will the members have to go on a trial-and-error basis by getting banned? Thanks in advance. smile

        2. Sally's Trove profile image98
          Sally's Troveposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          But they are attempts at argument, specifically argument designed to persuade. We could go round in circles about this.

          Beelzedad offered insight into why trashing someone's character is counterproductive to discussing and evaluating an issue.

          Glad to hear that ad hominem attacks are not allowed; maybe the more understood words on this site would be something like: Make your point with facts, not with trashing another's character.

          I think they call that, "Playing nice in the sandbox," something too many never learned.

        3. Beelzedad profile image61
          Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          That is not true, Jason. I thought to do a little experiment and reported what were blatant and obvious personal attacks and observed those members who made them to be happily posting away. Clearly, a banning here is not based on the rules but some other criteria, politics and favoritism, most likely.

          I suspect that's why you folks never bothered to define the differences as that would remove that ability to ban based on those other criteria. Of course, you folks are free to do so as it is your forum, but it makes the TOS look like a joke and your reasoning above entirely irrelevant.

          smile

  5. knolyourself profile image62
    knolyourselfposted 6 years ago

    "Why is it so important to be RIGHT all the time?" The kind of people who have ever so many enemies, believe that 'wrong' opinions
    cause evil and generally decay the society
    producing ever so much suffering. They are nice but have trouble getting along with people in general. They don't talk to me, which saves me a lot of time and trouble.
    Maybe it's just a means to having your cake and eat it too.

    1. Mark Ewbie profile image83
      Mark Ewbieposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Well all I know is that if I stay away from arguments I have a much easier and enjoyable forum experience.  Doesn't always work - but definitely better than trying to get that oh so important point across.

      1. profile image0
        Valemanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        No it doesn't always work.  Sometimes even the most innocuous post can offend someone, and sometimes one can be drawn into an argument when this is the last thing wanted.  People will find offence if they look hard enough for it.  It is easier to try though to avoid such situations, although at times if the beliefs one holds dear are judged to be  unfairly attacked, it is hard not to respond.

        1. Mark Ewbie profile image83
          Mark Ewbieposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Agreed.  Thing is I do have some beliefs of course but generally I don't rise to people attacking them.  Especially here.  I'm here to write and get read.  Not banned.

  6. TMMason profile image74
    TMMasonposted 6 years ago

    I have nothing to say. It would be called false because of those ad homomimimnee thingees anyway..

    But I do agree.

  7. Beelzedad profile image61
    Beelzedadposted 6 years ago

    I'm guessing the answers is "No" based on the silence, Jason? Folks will just continue to wonder if they will get banned through trial and error and you folks will be dogged with constant complaints and trying to explain to others why they were banned, thus wasting time and resources?

    Oh well, it was worth a try. smile

 
working