Essay Title: 

Hum 200 Logic

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in english, literature and language

Running Head : AD HOMINEM

The Ad Hominem

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The Ad Hominem

QUESTION : An ad hominem is present when

A . An insulting remark is made in place of reason in an argument

B . One speaker seeks to degrade another during an argument

C . People begin screaming epithets at each other

D . Words that are hateful or malicious are used The term ad hominem ‘ is a Latin phrase that translates to against the man (Hacker , 2003 ,

.53 . It is one of several logical fallacies that may [banner_entry_middle]

appear (intentionally or otherwise ) in the rhetorical mode of writing or speaking known as Argument . The use of the ad hominem indicates that an argument (or counter-argument ) is focusing not on the issue or cause , but on the issue ‘s presenter , and it generally takes the form of a personal attack of the presenter ‘s character

The soundest ad hominem attacks are made up of two steps . The first step is to discredit the speaker /presenter /sponsor , and the second step is to imply that because the speaker /presenter /sponsor is a bad person , the issue or cause must be bad as well . For example , two politicians are debating a public school bond issue , and the facts prove that the bond ‘s cost will far outweigh the anticipated minimal benefits – benefits that have not been shown to occur in other similar communities . There is no logical argument the opponent can find for citizen ‘s to support the bond issue , so he turns to a personal attack of his opponent . He points out that his opponent had no school-aged children , and that because of this , his opponent has no vested interest in the success or failure of the community ‘s public school system . The hope is that people will equate one ‘s lacking school-aged children with one ‘s inability to access a public school bond issue properly

The ad hominem fallacy may also infiltrate the average person ‘s decision making process absent obvious prompting . For example , famous people – athletes , movie stars , etc . – are often used to promote products or to sponsor events . The presumption of the part of the advertiser or event promoter is that fans of the famous person will become fans of the advertiser ‘s /promoter ‘s product or cause based (almost exclusively ) on that famous person ‘s appeal as a performer – not on the strength of the product or the validity of the cause


Hacker , D (2003 . Ad hominem . In A writer ‘s reference (5th ed Boston : Bedford .

. 53

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