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Forum Post: This should clear up many arguments here, ad hominem?

Posted 12 years ago on Jan. 12, 2012, 1:24 p.m. EST by BannedForTruth (233) from Christiana, TN
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Examples of Abusive ad hominem:

"You can't believe John when he says the proposed policy would help the economy. He doesn't even have a job."

"Candidate Jane's proposal about zoning is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003."

"What would Mary know about fixing cars? She is a woman." (an example of Ad feminam)[5]

An abusive ad hominem can apply to a judgment of cultural works or academic efforts based on the behavior or unconventional political beliefs of an artist, author, or musician, or the taste of an infamous person who loved a certain work.


Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose, so his music was worthless.

Leni Riefenstahl was a Nazi, so her film The Triumph of the Will is devoid of merit.

Sylvia Plath was a depressive who eventually committed suicide, so her works are unreadable.

What Ted Kaczynski wrote about boundary conditions in mathematics is shown false due to his crimes.

Circumstantial Ad hominem

Ad hominem circumstantial points out that someone is in circumstances such that he is disposed to take a particular position. Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source. This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false; this overlaps with the genetic fallacy (an argument that a claim is incorrect due to its source).[6]

The circumstantial fallacy applies only where the source taking a position is only making a logical argument from premises that are generally accepted. Where the source seeks to convince an audience of the truth of a premise by a claim of authority or by personal observation, observation of their circumstances may reduce the evidentiary weight of the claims, sometimes to zero.[7]


Mandy Rice-Davies's famous testimony during the Profumo Affair, "Well, he would [say that], wouldn't he?", is an example of a valid circumstantial argument. Her point was that a man in a prominent position, accused of an affair with a callgirl, would deny the claim whether it was true or false. His denial, in itself, carries little evidential weight against the claim of an affair. Note, however, that this argument is valid only insofar as it devalues the denial; it does not bolster the original claim. To construe evidentiary invalidation of the denial as evidentiary validation of the original claim is fallacious (on several different bases, including that of argumentum ad hominem); however likely the man in question would be to deny an affair that did in fact happen, he could only be more likely to deny an affair that never did.

Conflict of Interest: Where a source seeks to convince by a claim of authority or by personal observation, identification of conflicts of interest are not ad hominem – it is generally well accepted that an "authority" needs to be objective and impartial, and that an audience can only evaluate information from a source if they know about conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the source. Identification of a conflict of interest is appropriate, and concealment of a conflict of interest is a problem.

Feel free to post your own examples!!!



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[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

It's a logical fallacy that's been around for a very long time (I mean, wasn't it Aristotle who first codified it as a logical fallacy)? Of course according to Nietzsche, some things deserve mockery (was he right ... I'm not sure, but it does seem to be a natural default argument).

[-] 1 points by BannedForTruth (233) from Christiana, TN 12 years ago

Mocking to me signifies one with out an argument.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

In most situations I agree, but there's some ideas that are just so ridiculous (mockery is hard to resist) :)

[-] 1 points by BannedForTruth (233) from Christiana, TN 12 years ago

I agree but in important issues dialog is mandatory.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 12 years ago

The better side of me tells me you're exactly correct ... it's the demon in me that takes pleasure from mockery, well, not a demon really, or at least I don't believe such things actually exist, but you know what I'm saying :)

[-] 2 points by Listof40 (233) 12 years ago

There are some interesting points here, I am not familiar with alot of these specifically...but trying to think things out a good thing and is important in many ways....

Although your approach may seem rather technical, trying to apply some checks on our ideas and areas to consider is probably admirable... it may be a little strange for us to look at things in this kind of technical way a lot of the time... but we probably could see things that make sense here, if we thought about some of the points and examples... it was interesting, thanks...


[-] 1 points by BannedForTruth (233) from Christiana, TN 12 years ago

No problem just trying to help and thanks for your input.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

ad hoeminem is a ho ... because he plays for pay.. no ?

me rap ;)

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 12 years ago

ad homey is a lonely.. when he ain't got no baloney ... so stone me and shroom-me ... this money world is phony ... the 99 are stonies ... the 1% are cronies .. they focus on the pony's cause they ain't got no ga-honies ..

ok... 2 many beers ;)