Ad hominem

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Revision as of 17:14, 10 September 2010 by Woozle (talk | contribs) (more complete references, rewriting, etc.)
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An ad hominem argument (formally: argumentum ad hominem) or attack is where the arguer criticizes of the source of the opposing argument as proof that the argument itself is incorrect:

  • "You must be an idiot if you think that."
  • "Of course you would say that, being a high-school dropout."
  • "What lying commie-traitor blog did you get that from?"

"Name-calling" is an ad hominem technique.




  • Wikipedia
  • RationalWiki
  • Conservapedia (see Conservapedia) (emphasis added):
    • "Conservatives understand that the basic moral character of a person is always relevant to an argument. Liberals and Atheists are outraged by examination of an individual's character, considering it to be a personal affront, mainly because they are moral relativists. Conservatives understand how important it is that those debating an issue be trustworthy, otherwise a true debate/discussion cannot happen. An immoral person is of course incapable of making a legitimate, intellectual, argument because they come from deceit, like Richard Dawkins."
      • Sadly, it seems to be true that US conservatives believe this.
      • This belief is probably part of the conservative meme's defense mechanism. It is vital that conservatives not listen to anyone not infected by the meme, since only someone infected by it would believe many of the things conservatives believe; anyone else is much more likely to attack those beliefs and therefore threaten the meme's livelihood. (This is a good example of a memetic defense mechanism.)
    • It also makes the more interesting point that, in the legal courtroom, ad hominem attacks are considered acceptable arguments against the credibility of witness testimony. The implication that this is a valid basis for ad hominem attacks on a rational argument is utter nonsense, however.
  • dKosopedia gives an example of Conservapedia's ad hominem philosophy in action.
  • SourceWatch
  • The Nizkor Project: |ad hominem| |ad hominem tu quoque|