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Ad Hominem

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Ad Hominem Dismissing arguments by attacking the source (the person) giving the argument. Form of the Argument Attacks the source of the argument (the arguer) Says ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ad Hominem


1
Ad Hominem
  • Dismissing arguments by attacking the source (the
    person) giving the argument.

2
Form of the Argument
  • Attacks the source of the argument (the arguer)
  • Says because there are flaws in the source of
    the argument, therefore there are flaws in the
    argument itself.

3
Why this is a fallacy.
  • Focus should be on the argument.
  • Personal traits (Character) of the arguer
    generally irrelevant.

4
Types-Ad Hominem Fallacy
  • Personal-abusive
  • Bias-special interest
  • Inconsistency
  • Psychological
  • Inverse ad hominem

5
Ad Hominem Argument
  • Ad hominem argument-can be legitimate and cogent.
  • Example- Richard Nixon-misled people, lied and
    vindictive. Lionel has a bad temper, does not
    like children, and cant think- should not be a
    teacher.

6
Ad Hominem-Argument
  • Some ad hominem attack are irrelevant- e.g.
    Lionel is unfit to teach because he is bow-legged
    and wears ugly socks.
  • Fallacy- Do not believe his argument because he
    is

7
Abusive Against
  • Personally attacks the person giving the
    argument.
  • x says p, x is bad, therefore, dont accept
    p.
  • Dr. Jones says that this plan for nuclear waste
    will not work, but we all know he is a womanizer
    and heavy drinker.

8
Why these are wrong.
  • Regardless of who the person is, whatever their
    position, or how bad a character they possess,
    they may have a well- reasoned argument and their
    conclusion may be justified.

9
Circumstantial- Bias
  • x says p, x is biased because of his
    circumstances, thus you cant accept p.
  • Louis says that this oil drilling will destroy
    the ecosystem in this area, but he is an
    environmentalist and thus this cant be true.

10
Why this is a fallacy
  • Flaws in the source do not mean flaws in the
    argument-having a special interest does not make
    the argument unsound.
  • Do look more carefully at the argument

11
Advocacy-Testimony
  • Lawyer as advocate, but not testimony.-interest
    and no chance to challenge.
  • Cannot discredit advocates argument by ad
    hominem- this is a fallacy.

12
Testimony/Argument
  • Testimony within argument-p. 187
  • Critical- argument for profit- research, and
    statements.

13
Testimony/Argument
  • Testimony is like an arrow shot from a long bow
    the force of it depends on the strength of the
    hand that draws it. Argument is like an arrow
    from a crossbow, which has equal force though
    shot by a child.

14
Ad Hominem Attack
  • Ad hominem attack on testimony proper.
  • Judge all info about past behavior, special
    interest, character of person testifying.

15
Inconsistency-Ad H
  • Accuses arguer of being inconsistent or
    hypocritical.
  • Dr. Smith argues for global warming, but two
    years ago he said this was not the case.

16
Where is the fallacy?
  • Says one is speaking out of both sides of ones
    mouth, but one can change ones mind with reason.

17
Hypocrites can argue
  • Doctor (with cigarette in hand) argues You
    should quit smoking. Evidence shows that
    long-term smoking damages the lungs and can lead
    to cancer. Second-hand smoke also damages the
    lungs of others in your family, especially the
    young children.

18
Inconsistency Again
  • If between argument and actions-Fallacy.
  • If within argument- bad argument.
  • If testimony-then inconsistency relevant.

19
Psychological Ad H
  • Focuses on mental state of the arguer-implied
    sympathy.
  • You should dismiss Berts argument about banning
    whale hunting it is all about his own guilt at
    being a rich boy.

20
Inverse Ad Hominem
  • Praise for the source of the argument is not
    relevant to the quality of the argument.
  • Horace is one of the kindest persons I know so
    his argument about hunting should be listened to.

21
Testimony Credibility
  • Testimony takes its strength entirely from its
    source.
  • Legitimate to ask about character, truthfulness,
    reliability, and motive for testimony (paid,
    incentives).

22
Questions to Pursue
  • Does the person have a history of lying, fraud
    and deceit?
  • Is the person delusional or paranoid?
  • Self-interest payment.
  • Does witness have special interest or bias in the
    case?

23
Psychology-Testimony
  • Psychological instability is relevant to the
    credibility of testimony.

24
Testimony Praise
  • Good qualities are relevant for testimony
  • Being honest, truthful, principled, unbiased, and
    psychologically sound is relevant to testimony.

25
More Fallacies
  • Strawperson
  • Slippery Slope
  • False Dilemma
  • Golden Mean
  • Begging the Question

26
Straw Person (Man)
  • This tactic attempts to refute a position by
    oversimplifying or exaggerating their claims.
  • One weakens their argument or misrepresents their
    argument and then attacks this weakened version

27
Strawman Example
  • Mobils argument against those who favor soft
    energy (e.g. solar, wind, wood burning, etc).
  • They want to get all our energy from firewood.

28
Another Strawman
  • Buckleys argument against anti-handgun
    fundamentalists.
  • They tell you even the presence of a loaded
    handgun means Mr. Finegan is going to get drunk
    and shoot the Mrs.

29
Important Questions
  • Is this the strongest view of the position?
  • Is this an accurate picture?
  • Principle of charity-Interpret opposing arguments
    as generously and fairly as possible.

30
Beard - Slippery Slope
  • This fallacy assumes that you cannot draw lines
    or distinctions- e.g. when does one have a
    beard.
  • If you give my husband an inch, he takes a yard.
    First it was a lawnmower, then a blower, then a
    weed-wacker. Soon there will be no room in the
    garage.

31
Slippery Slope
  • Claims an innocent-looking step should not be
    taken because it will lead quickly to bad
    results.
  • Eg. If we put flourides in our water, then it
    will be in our tea, coffee, lemonade, bodies, and
    then there will be tranquillizers and other drugs.

32
Legitimate Slope
  • Must provide clear and good reasons for each step
    down the slope.
  • Give good reasons for why and how a particular
    action will lead to bad results.

33
Distracting Technique
  • Focus on dire results distracts us from real
    issue.
  • Burden of proof is on the person claiming that
    terrible consequences will follow-must offer good
    reasons for these claims.

34
Letting the camel in.
  • Assumes that if you let the camels nose into the
    tent, then the whole camel will follow.

35
False Dilemma
  • This poses a false choice.- Either we pay the
    government or they pay us, so why work
  • Either we ban all weapons or we will have
    all-out war.

36
Why this is a Fallacy.
  • This Black or White Fallacy assumes that there
    are always only two alternatives, but this
    usually is not true.
  • Life is neither black or white, but chocolate
    brown. -Hegel

37
Convincing, but
  • Either the butler saw the defendant kill Lord
    Rutabaga or he is lying. But he is known for his
    honesty, thus.

38
Other possibilities
  • Given the problems of eye witness testimony, the
    butler could be genuinely mistaken.
  • Ask- Are there other possibilities?

39
Raising Fees Again
  • The state has decreased its funding to the
    university. This leaves us with a terrible
    choice. Either we must raise fees, or we have to
    close the library.

40
The Golden Mean
  • This assumes that the middle position, a
    compromise is always correct. This may well not
    be the case.
  • To allow second degree murder (no intent) for a
    poisoning is an odd compromise.

41
Always available mean
  • Can construct for any issue- weak or strong
  • Golden mean can support contradictory
    conclusions.
  • Is the mean a good argument?

42
Begging the question
  • This is an argument that hides its conclusion as
    a premise and thus does not really prove anything
    new.

43
Synonymous Begging
  • Disguises conclusion in premises by giving a
    synonymous form of it.
  • Socialism is not workable because an economic
    system in which the means of production are
    collectively owned cannot work.

44
Circular Begging
  • This is circular reasoning with the form
  • P is true because Q is true and Q is true
    because P is true.

45
Begging the Question
  • If men are to survive, they must be fit. Indeed,
    only the fittest survive. Look at those who have
    survived. They have because they are fit.

46
Self-Sealing Argument
  • This is to win an argument by constant
    redefinition.
  • All women drivers are terrible- provide
    counterexample and he says But she drives like a
    man.

47
Complex Question
  • An implied answer is contained in the question.
  • When did you stop beating your wife?

48
Loaded Question
  • Have you always loved to be last in the
    league?

49
RECAP IDEAS
  • Assess the argument , not the arguer.
  • Things are not usually between two choices.
  • Lines can be drawn, one need not slide down a
    slope.
  • Lack of proof is no proof.

50
More summary ideas
  • The middle position is not automatically correct
    or good.
  • Repetition of the conclusion does not make it so.
  • Why ask, if you know.

51
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