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if Mark claims that smoking cigarettes is wrong, and Mary tries to rebut it by accusing Mark of smoking cigarettes, Mary has probably made an ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. The fact that Mark smokes cigarettes does not disprove the claim that smoking cigarettes is wrong.
seems to be an example of another badly used one, and so it does not really count as sufficient evidence against the use of ad hominem arguments altogether either. While we're on the topic of traditional or classical-type arguments named in Latin, let me make a reductio ad absurdum. Say two philosophers are discussing something which at first they have different views on, but then after discussion they come to the same conclusion and position. They then say that this particular position they've reached must be the right one, for they have come to it through logical argument. You may think that these two philosophers have been foolish to generalize so radically, however it does not necessarily follow that the particular method of argument that they used is a useless one, just that they may have utilized this method badlyif Joe claims that the sky is blue, Bob would be making an ad hominem argument if he responded by saying, "No, it isn't because you are an ugly moron."
Pointing out that someone has a reason to want a conclusion to be true is not a valid rebuttal to their argument.
Scott wrote:...if Mark claims that smoking cigarettes is wrong, and Mary tries to rebut it by accusing Mark of smoking cigarettes, Mary has probably made an ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. The fact that Mark smokes cigarettes does not disprove the claim that smoking cigarettes is wrong.
MrK wrote:Here, it would be relevant, valid and productive to the discussion to go into why Mark has this hypocritical position, noting his hypocrisy would bring it to the foreground for dissection.
MrK wrote:I agree, however, you seem to be talking about prejudice, and this always needs to be taken into account in argument where it is present.
Outside of philosophical debates, pointing out the bias of an informational source can help reduce the credibility of that source's trustworthiness. But in philosophical arguments it is almost always irrelevant to point out bias in the other person because the point is to offer a rebuttal to their argument.
ad hominem arguments are rarely presented as formal syllogisms, and their assessment lies in the domain of informal logic and the theory of evidence. The theory of evidence depends to a large degree on assessments of the credibility of witnesses, including eyewitness evidence and expert witness evidence. Evidence that a purported eyewitness is unreliable, or has a motive for lying, or that a purported expert witness lacks the claimed expertise can play a major role in making judgements from evidence.
Hence, while an ad hominem argument may make an assertion less compelling, by showing that the person making the assertion does not have the authority, knowledge or position they claim, or has made mistaken assertions on similar topics in the past, it cannot provide an infallible counterargument.
It's a fallacy to conclude the truth or falsehood of the proposition by whether or not Mark acts as though he believes it is true.
MrK wrote:The assumption you seem to making here is that philosophical debate is always has to be carried out using syllogistic logic. As it says in the Wiki article on ad hominem:
Surely to refute argumentum ad hominem as completely as you did, you must first show that the particular methods it relies on are of no value.
As wiki says..
Perhaps, however, it does not follow that the claim that Mark's particular position on this matter is of less value than someone whose actions are not hypocritical, is worthless.
Scott wrote:What do you think? How do you stop yourself from making ad hominem arguments and personal attacks?
For example, in a recent thread I doubted the credibility of the majority of so-called scientists in a certain field who were supposedly providing evidence of a supposed phenomenon that happens to be considered paranormal (i.e. lacking scientific evidence) by the vast majority of people especially the scientific community. I was accused of making an ad hominem fallacy. Even if I was incorrect about the so-called scientists not being credible scientists, even if I was making a lazy, ignorant broad stroke, it still clearly wouldn't be an ad hominem fallacy.
Scott wrote:"generally have ***a lot of respect for each other*** and enjoy having the discussion in ***a friendly*** tone. In fact, it becomes very difficult to have a worthwhile philosophical discussion without ***a lot of respectfulness and friendliness.***"
Scott wrote:Also, calling the person who makes an argument *****biased***** is almost always an ad hominem fallacy.
Scott wrote:You can avoid using ad hominem arguments by trying ....to speak as nicely, politely, and *****respectfully***** as possible.
Scott wrote:Philosophical Discussion: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks
by Scott Hughes
Philosophical discussions generally consist of productive debate in which two or more people attempt to rationally argue for different sides of a question. They each try to think up and explain a logical argument in support of their position while constructively trying to offer logical rebuttals of the other person's position. Though called arguments, the philosophers generally have *****a lot of respect for each other***** and enjoy having the discussion *****in a friendly tone.***** In fact, it becomes very difficult to have a worthwhile philosophical discussion *****without a lot of respectfulness and friendliness.*****
MrK wrote:I agree, however, you seem to be talking about *****prejudice,***** and this *****always***** needs to be taken into account in argument where it is present.
Meleagar wrote:While you did not attack me personally, you personally attacked my proxy agents - the scientists and work I cited as evidence to support my overall argument - by slandering their reputation and work without offering any evidence whatsoever to back up your disparaging comments.
Meleagar wrote:When I use the research those scientists to make my case, they become proxy agents for my side of the argument; when you slander the reputation and work of the agents on my side of the argument (and by slander I mean ridicule and belittle without offering one shred of fact or information about any wrongdoing, fraud, or improper interpretation whatsoever), you are engaged in an ad hominem fallacy against my side of the argument.
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