Do It Right: Ad Hominem Attacks


This morning’s lesson is how to do our favorite ad hominem attacks right – here’s a “scientific” way from Scientific American:

Although ad hominem arguments have long been considered errors in reasoning, a recent analysis suggests that this is not always the case. In his new book, Media Argumentation: Dialectic, Persuasion, and Rhetoric, University of Winnipeg philosopher Douglas Walton proposes that fallacies such as the ad hominem are better understood as perversions or corruptions of perfectly good arguments. Regarding the ad hominem, Walton contends that although such attacks are usually fallacious, they can be legitimate when a character critique is directly or indirect­ly related to the point being articulated. Read the whole story.

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6 thoughts on “Do It Right: Ad Hominem Attacks

  1. Sez you. Am I supposed to be impressed with the rantings of two eggheads with absurd Rocky and Bullwinkle names and obscure avatars?

  2. Mikhail, good start, but less hasty generalization, more ad hominem!

    Carl, your witty descriptors of us only make your case stronger–points for legitimacy!

    Does this mean that ad hominem “forms of arguments” are now kind of like kosher style?

  3. See here . If you want to be a dim witted moose, then by all means you can be Bullwinkle, but I think our friend Carl was referring more (or also–ad hominem arguments can be so complex) to the names of the villains, Boris and Natasha, and their cohorts.

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