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Re: OT fallacies

From: Michael Gaab <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 20:06:28 -0600
Message-ID: <>

<> wrote in message

> I have explained in excruciating detail in the very post
> that you are reply to that argumentum ad hominem is /NOT/ an
> argument /ABOUT/ people. It is an appeal /TO/ people. In
> other words ad hominem refers to argument where the /OBJECT/
> not the /SUBJECT/ is the person being appealed to. Do you
> understand this? Let me give you an example:
> "Do not buy Japanese cars! The Japanese raped, tortured, and
> massacred Koreans, Chinese, and others in WWII."
> That is argumentum ad hominem. And notice that 1) the
> /SUBJECT/ of the argument, buying Japanese cars, is /NOT/ a
> person and 2) the appeal (... rape ... massacred ...) is not
> even an /insult/ it's a simple historical fact.
> Please /stop confusing/ insults and arguments /ABOUT/ people
> with ad hominem.
> Furthermore, you are right that "it's not an argument about
> the issue" and thus it cannot be a fallacious "argument
> about the issue" since it isn't even an "argument about the
> issue" in the first place. The postings you posted were in
> fact arguments /ABOUT/ you. Again, /do not confuse/ an
> argument /ABOUT/ a person (you) with ad hominem.
> Finally, stating someone is an idiot, ignorant, etc isn't
> even an appeal to the person (remember here person is the
> /OBJECT/ of the argument, ie those being appealed to, argued
> to, not those being argued /ABOUT/). It's simply a statement
> of observed ignorance, lack of expertise, etc. A warning
> that a person has demonstrated a certain behavior and hence
> don't be surprised if they do again; prepare yourself.

ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM Description: An argument that attempts to disprove the truth of what is asserted by attacking the speaker rather than the speaker's argument. Another way of putting it: Fallacy where you attack someone's character instead of dealing with salient issues. There are two basic types of ad hominem arguments: (1) abusive, and (2) circumstantial.

Looked at from the point of view of the fallacy approach to informal logic, this is a classic case of ad hominem. Kahane [1995, 65], for example, describes ad hominem as a fallacy that occurs when an arguer is guilty "of attacking his opponent rather than his opponent's evidence and arguments." In this case, the debater in question attacks the motivation and the character of the person promoting a separate Danish church instead of showing what is wrong with his evidence for the claim that this is a good idea. On these grounds, the proposed reasoning is fallacious.

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