The Ad Hominem Fallacy (Includes the Argument from Authority)


Ad hominem arguments substitute commentary on a person or persons for an evaluation of the claims they make and the evidence they put forward for accepting those claims. Personal commentary is not always fallacious, but very often it is. Ad hominem arguments come in a variety of forms, but we can divide them into roughly two types; those that present criticism of the target (i.e. the subject of the personal commentary) and those authority arguments that misuse the personal credibility of a source for a claim.

Critical Ad Hominems

In each of these cases, personal commentary about the target of the ad hominem has been used as a reason to reject a claim she has made even when that claim is not directly related to the personal information presented about her.

Ad Hominem (Abusive): This is perhaps the most common form of an ad hominem argument. It consists of an attack on the person in question…

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