Ad Hominem Arguments by Douglas Walton

By Douglas Walton

Essential to an realizing of argumentation and good judgment, Ad Hominem Arguments is an important contribution to criminal idea and media and civic discourse.

within the 1860s, northern newspapers attacked Abraham Lincoln's rules by means of attacking his personality, utilizing the phrases "drunk," "baboon," "too slow," "foolish," and "dishonest." progressively at the elevate in political argumentation on account that then, the argumentum advert hominem, or own assault argument, has now been conscientiously subtle as an tool of "oppo strategies" and "going damaging" by means of the general public family specialists who craft political campaigns on the nationwide point. during this definitive remedy of 1 of crucial techniques in argumentation thought and casual common sense, Douglas Walton offers a normative framework for determining and comparing advert hominem or own assault arguments.

own assault arguments have frequently proved to be so powerful, in election campaigns, for instance, that even whereas condemning them, politicians haven't stopped utilizing them. within the media, within the court, and in daily disagreement, advert hominem arguments are effortless to place ahead as accusations, are tricky to refute, and sometimes have a really strong influence on persuading an audience.

Walton supplies a transparent process for examining and comparing circumstances of advert hominem arguments present in daily argumentation. His research classifies the advert hominem argument into 5 in actual fact outlined subtypes—abusive (direct), circumstantial, bias, "poisoning the well," and tu quoque ("you're simply as bad") arguments—and provides tools for comparing every one sort. each one subtype is given a well-defined shape as a recognizable kind of argument. the various case experiences exhibit in concrete phrases many sensible points of the way to exploit textual proof to spot and examine fallacies and to judge argumentation as wrong or no longer specifically cases.


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Extra resources for Ad Hominem Arguments

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The tu quoque and the poisoning the well subtypes are also recognized prominently by name, in Chase ( 1 956). Wide differences in ways of defining argumentum ad hominem are evident in this group. Defining it in terms of the character of the person who is attacked by the argument seems to be a common thread. But there are variations on and deviations from this central theme. " Origins, " "history, " and "motivation" are cited as what is attacked in an ad hominem argument, instead of or in addition to the character of person of the arguer.

According to Wisse { 1 989, p. 5 ), the Greek word ethos means 'character,' and Wisse shows how both Aristotle and Cicero saw the use of a speaker's character as a means to help persuade an audience. According to Brinton { 1986, p. 245 ), the most appropriate use of the term ethos in argumentation theory is to refer to an arguer's character used to support his argu­ ment. In this sense, Aristotle presented the idea in Rhetoric ( 1 356 a 4-5 ) that an arguer's character is important in lending credibility to his argument.

Into logic after Locke. There was a· long tradition of the use of the phrase argumentum ad hominem in logic textbooks, manuals, and Classic Cases and Basic Concepts I 39 other writings on logic going back at least to Aristotle. The problem revealed is that several important ambiguities exist in the expression argumentum ad hominem as evolved into the modern informal logic as a term of art to stand for one of the traditional informal fallacies. Students could easily recognize that, once the ad hominem was iden­ tified as personal attack, it was a form of argumentation that is both common and powerful.

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