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The Ad Hominem Fallacy | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

The Ad Hominem Fallacy | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios


Hi there, internet commenter. You’ve been sent a
link to this video because someone is
concerned that you might not be arguing your case
to your utmost ability. They’re concerned you
might have used a fallacy to make an important point,
thus defeating your own claim. The fallacy they’re
concerned you might have used is the ad hominem attack. Ad hominem criticism is
where, instead of criticizing the argument or
ideas of the person with whom you are
conversing, you criticize the person
themselves and, in so doing, claim you have also
criticized their argument. And boy, is this one popular. Ad hominem criticisms
are not always but are very
frequently fallacious. Wrong! Unless the character or
actions of the person making an argument are directly
related to the matter at hand, criticizing them and not
their ideas is a fallacy. Ad hominem attacks are
the bread and butter of political advertising. Criticizing a
candidate and saying that because their
character is bad, their ideas and
policies are also bad. (MOVIE ANNOUNCER VOICE)
John Smith literally hates little children. And so his ideas about salmon
fishery safety regulations are wrong. Dead wrong. A related fallacy
is tu quoque, where it is argued that a
person making an argument has behaved in a
way inconsistent with that argument. Their behavior might
be inconsistent, but it doesn’t necessarily
make their argument wrong. For example, it’s really
important for fast food restaurants to be clear
about the salt, fat, and sugar content of their food,
doubly so because of how cheap it is. Obesity is a real
problem in America. What business do you
have asking companies to disclose this stuff? I saw you eat two Big Macs and
drink 34 ounces of Hi-C Orange Lavaburst yesterday. This is an ad hominem
tu quoque attack. Mike argues for the presence
of certain dietary information. And Straw Mike says that,
based on his behavior, he lacks the authority to do so. Straw Mike’s response
doesn’t at all approach the point
Mike is making, though. Mike is arguing that if certain
dietary information were widely available, it’s possible that an
effect on obesity would occur. Ad hominem attacks make it
so the person being attacked suddenly has to defend their
character and not their ideas, when, in fact, their
character has no bearing on the conversation whatsoever. And also, it’s mean. You seem like a nice person. No need for insults. I hope this description
of the ad hominem attack has been helpful. Happy conversing.

100 thoughts on “The Ad Hominem Fallacy | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

  1. Out of curiosity, is this criticism at all usable against the claim that Thunderf00t claiming Anita Sarkeesian is putting out videos too far apart is ridiculous since all he ever does is whine about feminists on his so called "Science and Secularism" patreon rather than put out any, y'know, science and secularism videos?

    Just wondering where the line is drawn when you're calling someone out on hypocrisy.

  2. This guy is a pedophile who breeds pitbulls to fight them in dog fighting rings.  Why would you subscribe to a guy who likes little girls (sometimes boys) and hurts animals?  Probably should unsubscribe and just follow me on twitter, I donate frequently to the Humane Society, Have a lovely wife of 12 years and have 2 great children who I would never want harmed and I also go to Church every sunday.  Help me keep the word of God alive..and help me send Gays to the fiery pits of HELL.

  3. this fallacy is IMO what caused the the @Feminist Frequency debates to quickly degenerate. Anita made some fairly well thought out, however not perfect, arguments that were definitely worth discussing. however, the discussion that insued consisted of mainly of people who used mostly ad hominem arguments, and sometimes even false rumors, to make their arguments. for example, some people responded to her criticism of our over reliance on gender signifiers by pointing out her personal choice to dress in a very feminine. people also ignored her statements on being able to enjoy something and criticize it at the same time, because many of the games she criticized where games that she personally did not enjoy. overall, most arguments I've heard against her attack her personal decisions, and many others were based in false rumors. it is important to note, however, that just because the responses she received were drenched in ad hominem, doesn't mean she is above receiving intellectual critism, since she is still only human, and thus her arguments aren't perfect either.

  4. Isn't Tu Quoque when someone defends an argument by levying the same complaint against a different argument?

  5. The video is very nice, but there are crossed wires.
    "You're talking about "ad personam" attacks, because Schopenhauer said that."
    The first part of the previous sentence is correct, the second part contains a fallacy, the "ad hominem" logical fallacy, when you believe in something keeping faith on the one who says that or you don't believe in something because you don't think the one who says that is authoritative enough.
    When you try to refute your interlocutor with arguments valid for him and not for you, but that is not directly a fallacy, it is only a rhetoric tecnique.
    Obviously if someone demand you to believe him respecting his authority, using "ad personam" attacks is legitimate and correct.
    But if talk shows could do without "ad personam" attacks (that are a part of "ad hominem" attacks), we couldn't do without "ad personam" fallacy in our lives. We let doctors take care of us because we think they are authoritative and expert because we don't know much things about medical science, we let friends in who we trust suggest us on matters we don't understand, we let our mothers buying us clothes because we don't know anything about fashion.
    We can say that in science and in philosophy we should wipe "ad hominem" off, but doing so we would tearing apart thinking and life, and that is wrong, I guess.  
    So, I think that we should just accept that truth is not only based on the object of knowledge but on the subject too: there isn't a only rational method to reach truth and passions, needings and enthusiasm have a huge part in the belief regarding the falseness or the truthness (does this word exist in English?) of a statement.
    What do you think about that?

  6. Logic has always struck me as an inherently fascinating subject, and these videos certainly provide quick and funny hits of it. I do have my doubts as to whether they’ll actually help anyone win an argument. So point out others’ logical fallacies if you must, but bear in mind that you might be the only one who learns anything as a result.

  7. Hey, 

    Thanks for these fallacy videos.  They've been useful as a brush up since my days in college 🙂

  8. Dose the thumbs down button even work on people comments any more ? I never seen any negative counts on people comment no more

  9. I'm sorry, but Ad Hominem is one of the biggest bullshit fallacies in existence. It's basically just an easy way out for bronies and autistics to "prove their point," when–in reality–it's just makes a lesser intellectual look smarter, so that they can protect their "valid criticism." I mean, a lot of the other fallacies that you've covered actually make sense, such as the infamous strawman. But this is probably one of the most dated excuses for denying someone's argument I've ever seen, and I've been getting more of it with every new fedora wearing sperg I see on any message board. Once again, I'm sorry, @PBS Idea Channel, but this is honestly one of your lower points within the fallacy compilation.

  10. You don't like cheese and I love sheesh therefor every video you made is wrong because cheese is MAZING

  11. I see this all the time in online discussions, especially when the issue of bigotry comes up.  Somebody will say something that, if you're assuming the worst about them, could be interpreted as sexist or racist or homophobic.  Then the person with whom they're debating will hold up that line as some kind of triumph, as if by saying that the accused bigot has invalidated every other point they were trying to make.

  12. Ad Hominem is a distraction, person who uses this fallacy tries to distract from the sensitive topic of conversation, you may notice that person has mysteriously shifted from the main topic, toward attacking the person who makes certain claim.

  13. Just a small point, but I wasn't sent a link to any of your videos. I just searched for examples of fallacious arguments, so that I can try to make sure that I don't – or at least be less likely to – form a fallacious argument myself.

  14. Why is there no clarification of how mere insults, aren't ad hominems?
    If I say "you're stuipid and therefore what you are arguing for is wrong", then that's an ad hominem.
    …but if I just say "you're stupid", that's just an insult. No ad hominem. No fallacy.

  15. it really depends on what you are talking about. Lets say… morals. their ideas of what is right or wrong and then i find their hypocrisy is an attack on both their character and ideas.

  16. Hugely important point to grasp that too few people seem to:

    Someone attacking your character is not itself a fallacy. It is only when this attack on your character is used to dismiss or discredit your argument that the other party is guilty of a fallacy.

    Without it, they're just being an ass, which does not discredit their argument, and you claiming otherwise is hilariously you committing the fallacy you are falsely accusing them of.

  17. The internet is not a place for debates. Debates are a formal thing, with a referee and rules. The internet is a place for discussion, and arguments.

  18. 90% of american political debates, the other 10% is them patting each other on the back for being the party addressing the issues.

  19. I don't know if this is a type of fallacy, but why do you continue to use the strawman? Is there no good representation of the ad hominem… man?

  20. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) What kind of fallacy is it to start off this video suggesting viewers are watching because they were sent here by an arguing rival. Would it be ad hominem to argue that the pedant in the video makes his definition less succinct because of his distasteful charisma?

  21. I am in a Rhetoric class and we are debating if the US ought to prioritize national security over digital privacy. One of the affirmitive arguememnts is that we willingly surrender info to companies like google without really reading the terms and conditions and so should take no issue with agencies taking info. Its nice to have a name to put to how wrong this arguememt is.

  22. well i'll probably have to watch this series once a day, i'm pretty sure i used some of these falacies.not this one though… i think

  23. anyone I disagree with uses the ad hominem all the time but I never use it myself because I am infalliable ahahaha dumb sjws

  24. Fox news uses the everyday, which is why I stopped watching them 15 years ago. This is how every media outlet attacked Dave Duke when he said he supports Trump.

  25. is it ad hom if they say what you're saying is stupid but don't give a reason why? or they insult you and say you're wrong but don't address what you are actually saying?

  26. so when someone shows a bad behavior of one group/person and their opponent justifies it by showing behaviors of another group/person as an argument answer, does this count?

  27. pretty sure i witnessed this in a video i watched yesterday by a college speaker lol. then again i may be wrong who knows

  28. Sadly, despite how fallacious they are, ad hominem attacks do work. Attacking a person's argument only weakens their argument. Attacking a person's character weakens them as a person in the eyes of others, rendering any words that come out of their mouths ineffective.

    A prime example happening as of this comment is Donald Trump: he "ad hominemed" his way to the Republican nomination by taking down his biggest challengers one at a time through character attacks: first Jeb Bush ("weak"), then Marco Rubio ("little"), and eventually Ted Cruz ("liar"). Now he's using the same strategy against Hillary Clinton: finding labels to slap on her until one sticks ("crooked" Hillary seems to be working well, although he hasn't stopped there).

  29. what if one was to use this fallacy to highlight themselves in an argument instead of attacking the person they are arguing with?

  30. But what if the behavior of the person is related to his argument? I think this is something that requires a profund analysis, because there are A LOT of arguments that are extremely contraditory depending on the person that's using it.

  31. In this comments section:

    People trying to cite examples of Ad Hominem claiming only one political side uses these arguments (when in reality both left/right wing politicians use this fallacy).

  32. I think that tu quoque is not always fallacious.

    You can use a past example of behaviour to prove a general principle. If the other person accepts that principle, then logically speaking the later behaviour becomes incorrect.

  33. Ad Hominems don't work on me because I can seamlessly incorporate both a defense of my original point and of my character into a single striking rebuttal.

  34. Quick, easy to understand, and examples? Why has it taken me this long to understand what this is? I hear this term get used all the time in debates but never really knew what the full thing meant. I considered it a form of dodging a question and in some ways I guess that isn't wrong depending on the situation. Great vid

  35. The Ad Musicum Fallacy:
    Instead of providing interesting content, the video-maker pads fancy-sounding padded monologue with jangly upbeat 'Music' to manipulate the viewer into thinking they are watching something informative.
    #FAIL.

  36. The part that pisses me off is that someone said I was using an "ad hominem" attack when I'm criticizing someone for believing in the fallacious ideals that I'm criticizing and referring to that as an ad hominem. I didn't know what it meant before but now that I do, it still doesn't make sense in that context.

  37. What if you're just really good at debate and you love rubbing that in as you're beating people in debate reminding them of who's more intelligent.
    If you win the debate does it matter? Sure I'm an arrogant a***** with a ego the size of the Empire State Building but I'm still right!

  38. This argument falls apart when one realizes that holding certain ideas automatically reveals a person as foolish/intellectually inferior/mentally unbalanced, etc. The trick is often used as a final ploy, by a defeated interlocquetor.

  39. For example, what a person looks like (the inherent discrimination thereof) negates anything else they do or say…..

  40. Would the typical "Well do you have a degree in [insert subject here]" response to a scientific argument, or really any argument be considered ad hominem? I just see it used so much, and it doesn't seem like an appropriate argument towards a lot of claims.

  41. Jungle conclusions…. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/threelly-ai-for-youtube/dfohlnjmjiipcppekkbhbabjbnikkibo

  42. Hahahahahhahahahaha that seedy little bread buttering itself tho!! I had to stop watching for at least five minutes to compose myself😂😂

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