Ad Hominem

By: Amanda Crowley

Latin, means against the man or against the person.


"A general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author or the person presenting the claim."

(nizkor.org)

An Ad Hominem usually involves two steps:

1. Person A makes a claim

2. Person B makes an attack on Person A's character, thereby discrediting their argument


The result of an Ad Hominem attack is to undermine someone's case without having to engage in it.

Examples

Person A: I think vegetarianism should be mandatory to create a healthy generation

Person B: How can you argue about that while enjoying your steak?


Person A: Marketing provides valuable assets for the future.

Person B: Of course you feel that way, you work in marketing.

A benefit to using an Ad Hominem is that you sound witty and reserved by quickly subduing someone's argument with minimal effort.


A challenge when using Ad Hominem is that you can be considered abusive and rough with your attack on the speaker's character.