Download Ad Hominem Arguments by Douglas Walton PDF

By Douglas Walton

Essential to an knowing of argumentation and good judgment, Ad Hominem Arguments is an important contribution to felony conception 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." gradually at the bring up in political argumentation considering that then, the argumentum advert hominem, or own assault argument, has now been rigorously subtle as an tool of "oppo strategies" and "going detrimental" by means of the general public family members specialists who craft political campaigns on the nationwide point. during this definitive remedy of 1 of an important suggestions in argumentation concept and casual good judgment, Douglas Walton provides a normative framework for determining and comparing advert hominem or own assault arguments.

own assault arguments have usually proved to be so potent, 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 an exceptionally strong impression on persuading an audience.

Walton offers a transparent technique for examining and comparing situations of advert hominem arguments present in daily argumentation. His research classifies the advert hominem argument into 5 sincerely outlined subtypes—abusive (direct), circumstantial, bias, "poisoning the well," and tu quoque ("you're simply as bad") arguments—and offers equipment for comparing each one kind. every one subtype is given a well-defined shape as a recognizable kind of argument. the various case stories convey in concrete phrases many useful points of the way to exploit textual facts to spot and research fallacies and to guage argumentation as mistaken or no longer specifically cases.


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Additional info for Ad Hominem Arguments

Sample text

This reasoning seems appropriate. But, because of the historical am­ biguity, the expression "argumentum ad hominem" was identified with the logical fallacy found in the standard treatment of informal fallacies in the logic textbooks. So, Johnstone's thesis then had the shocking implication that all philosophical argumentation is inher­ ently fallacious. Thus, we could interpret Johnstone's provocative thesis, from one point of view, as an impetus to call upon the field of philosophy generally to begin to work toward analyzing the concept of argumentum ad hominem and disambiguating it.

The ad ho­ minem fallacy is generally regarded as a major fallacy, however, and it seems to be treated by most textbooks that include consideration of fallacies at all. I have not attempted any systematic survey of comparing instances of textbooks that included ad hominem versus those that did not. It would seem from my survey that most logic textbooks that do treat of fallacies do include the ad hominem fallacy. All of the sixty-six 44 I The Textbook Treatment The early accounts surveyed here cover the period from around the turn of the century to just after World War II ( 1 948).

1 72) in describing a type of case that would gen­ erally be considered an instance of the circumstantial type of ad The Textbook Treatment I 45 hominem argument but does not make the distinction between the abusive and circumstantial types of ad hominem argument. Case 2. 1 Every one who gives advice lays himself open to the retort that he who preaches ought to practice, or that those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones. Nevertheless there is no necessary connection between the character of the person giving advice and the goodness of the advice.

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