Ad hominem examples: types & functions

An ad hominem argument (or argumentum ad hominem in Latin) is used khổng lồ counter another argument. However, it"s based on feelings of prejudice (often irrelevant lớn the argument), rather than facts, reason, và súc tích. An ad hominem argument is often a personal attachồng on someone"s character or motive rather than an attempt to address the actual issue at hand.

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woman & man in ad hominem argument

This type of personal attaông chồng fallacy is often witnessed in debates in courtrooms và politics. Often, the attachồng is based on a person"s social, political, or religious views. Either way, ad hominem fallacy attacks undermine the case và are to lớn be avoided at all costs. You"ll see why as we explore ad hominem below.

The Function of Ad Hominem Arguments

Sometimes, people utilize ad hominem fallacy because they want khổng lồ appeal khổng lồ people"s emotions. (Raise your h& if you"ve ever jumped to a conclusion based on emotion, rather than reason.) But, that"s precisely why these kinds of arguments are often made of straw rather than of steel.

As soon as you spot someone coming after you with an ad hominem argument, you can counter their attachồng in two moves.

Point out the irrelevance of the emotional testimony they"ve sầu just introduced khổng lồ the argument. Point out their personal attack on you & highlight how it has nothing lớn vày with the argument at hvà. In fact, you can go so far as lớn ask them how - precisely - their personal attaông chồng is relevant to the argument at hvà.Once you"ve sầu exposed their weakness, move on. Take the high road. You might say something to lớn the effect of, "I understand you think I"m X,Y, and Z, but that has nothing lớn vị with what we are actually discussing here. So, I"m not going to lớn entertain it any longer."

Make sure you never find yourself on the wrong side of an ad hominem argument with a quiông xã Đánh Giá of the concept in this Clip.

Types of Ad Hominem Fallacy

There isn’t just one type of ad hominem fallacy. Let’s look at the different types of ad hominem arguments you might find.

Abusive - This is where the person is directly attacked. (i.e. This is why a woman shouldn’t vày a man"s job.)Circumstantial - Personal circumstances motivate a person"s argument, so it must be false. (i.e. This oto is proven khổng lồ get great gas mileage. Yeah right! You just want my sale.)Guilt by Association - Due to lớn an association to lớn something negative sầu, an argument is discredited. (i.e. Pol Pot was evil & against religion. All people against religion are bad.)Tu Quoque - Past actions discredit your argument. (i.e. You don’t believe sầu that cheating is bad when you cheated on your wife.) of Argumentum Ad Hominem

Let"s Reviews several ad hominem Unfortunately, they"re prevalent in the courtroom & in politics, so we"ll begin there. To no surprise, ad hominem fallacy arguments also occur in any sort of daily interaction, so we"ll review a few more everyday, too.

The more you read about of ad hominem arguments, the more you"ll be able to lớn spot them &, if need be, defkết thúc yourself against such claims.

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In the Court

It won"t surprise you to learn ad hominem attacks are attempted in the court of law, where jury members" emotions are played upon on a regular basis.

Attacking a defendant"s character rather than addressing the actual facts of the alleged criminal activity - "You haven"t held a steady job since 1992. Worse than that, we couldn"t find a single employer who"d provide you with a good reference."Asserting that witness’ geographical location prevents hlặng from being able to make a clear judgment in the case - "You"ve only ever lived in the đô thị. The issues that matter to America"s heartl& are clearly beyond your comprehension."Using racial slurs to demean a person of another race in an argument about a crime involving people of different racial backgrounds - "People like you don"t underst& what it"s lượt thích to grow up blaông chồng in America. You have sầu no right to lớn argue about the gang violence on our streets."Attacking a defendant’s character by pointing out their flaws in a case - “You cheated and lied to lớn your wife, but you expect the jury lớn believe sầu you now?”

In Political Debates

Have sầu you ever watched a presidential debate? Boy, can they get ugly. Some politicians have even been known to lớn resort khổng lồ name-calling. Things certainly get sticky in the political arena; here are a few lớn that effect.

Degrading another politician during a chiến dịch when asked about a specific policy - "Well, I think we need khổng lồ look at Senator Smith"s failures regarding this issue."Responding in any debate with an attaông chồng on one"s personal beliefs - "You don"t even belong to lớn a church. How can you clayên ổn lớn be a Christian?"Generalizing views of a political party as an insulting argument khổng lồ an individual who is a thành viên of a different các buổi tiệc nhỏ - "Well, it"s pretty obvious that your political party doesn"t know how khổng lồ be fiscally responsible, so I wouldn"t expect you khổng lồ be either."Attacking an opponent"s physical attractiveness rather than looking at the faults in their politics - “Just look at that face! How could anyone vote for that?”

Used in Media

Whether it’s an opinion piece or lively on-air discussion, words can easily get personal. Explore some different that attaông chồng religion, sexual orientation, và even socioeconomic status.

Attacking someone"s own sexual orientation in arguing about the right of LGBT individuals to marry - "The only reason you could possibly be in favor of this is because you"re not being honest about your own sexuality."Using someone"s known background or beliefs - "Of course you would say that. You believe life begins at conception and have never studied alternative facts."Stating that someone"s argument is incorrect because of her religious beliefs - "Perhaps if you weren"t Mortháng, you would see this quite differently."Relying on socioeconomic status as a means to lớn undermine an opposing individual"s opinion - "You wouldn"t understand since you have never had to lớn struggle."Using gender as a means to devalue an argument from an opposing gender - "This is a female issue. As a man, how can you have sầu an opinion about this?"

In Everyday Life

A simple conversation can suddenly take a left turn into lớn ad hominem territory. Something very innocent can inadvertently become a personal attachồng on someone else. Let"s take a look at a few more so you can keep your ad hominem detective skills on point.

Using someone"s education màn chơi as a means lớn exploit & degrade the opposer"s argument - "You didn"t even finish high school. How could you possibly know about this?"Demeaning a teacher"s decision on grading by insulting her intelligence - "Well, it"s not like you graduated from a good school, so I can see why you wouldn"t know how to properly grade a writing assignment."Stating that one"s age precludes hyên ổn from being able lớn make an intelligent or meaningful argument - "You"re clearly just too young lớn underst&."Use of marital status to lớn invalidate an opinion of someone of a different status - "How can you make a decision about someone having marital problems if you"ve never been married yourself?"Stating that the ethnithành phố of the opposing individual keeps hlặng from formulating a valuable opinion - "You are from the United States, so you could never understand what it"s like to live in a country lượt thích that."

Leave sầu Your Emotions Home

Ad hominem arguments often expose people"s prejudices. Being able to identify ad hominem arguments can help you defend yourself accordingly.

It"s worth mentioning that, in some cases, a personal attaông chồng can be relevant lớn the discussion at hvà. Perhaps you"re illustrating a long-standing character defect that has influenced another person"s bad behavior.

The trouble is these arguments are not always rooted in facts & hard data, và they often take a wrong turn inkhổng lồ information that isn"t directly related khổng lồ the discussion at hand. So, try khổng lồ avoid them &, by all means, protect yourself against such attacks.

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If you ever find yourself in a position where you need khổng lồ battle bachồng an ad hominem attack, see if you can incorporate some positive correlation khổng lồ turn the tide.

Chuyên mục: literature