Wiki In need of corrections

Discussion of the wiki dedicated to documenting FfTB Foibles...

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Wiki In need of corrections


Post by Eucliwood »

It has a totally incorrect definition of "Ad Hominem"
My reply:

That's NOT the correct definition of Ad Hominem. Ad Hominem occurs when you USE something irrelevant about someone to attack their argument... and not JUST then- Ad Hominem is NOT when you attack someone for something they say. You can attack someone, sure... and your actual argument can still be valid. It is not a fallacy. You guys need a lesson from

People really need to learn the difference. Even if they learned from a faulty source, it should be obvious from common sense that it's not a logical fallacy. FALLACY is more than just a word. It has a meaning to it. You just don't read "oh, okay, someone said that's a fallacy, so it is."No... it has to make sense that it is called a fallacy.

"Refuting an argument by attacking some aspect of the presentation of it, rather than addressing the content of the argument itself. It can consist of an attack on the person making the argument; the source of their information; their circumstances; their previous position; a discrepancy between their actions and their argument; or the style in which the argument is presented."

"Ad hominem is very often mistakenly claimed in cases where an argument's opponent attacks its proponent in addition to presenting a valid counterargument. "You're stupid, therefore your argument is invalid" is an ad hominem; "your argument is invalid, therefore you're stupid" (or "Your argument is invalid and you're stupid") is not. Similarly, some people seem to think that Ad Hominem is necessarily abusive, which it isn't. "You've used the 'Four Terms' fallacy, you stupid retard, therefore you're using faulty logic" is not Ad Hominem (although it might be Fallacy Fallacy if done badly). "Mike has clearly put a lot of thought into whether we should buy a pool, but he is a convicted felon" is.

John Greg
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Re: Wiki In need of corrections


Post by John Greg »

Go here for a comprehensive definition of ad hominem, and several other logical fallacies: ... ies.aspx#1

To wit:
An ad hominem argument is any that attempts to counter another’s claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself. True believers will often commit this fallacy by countering the arguments of skeptics by stating that skeptics are closed minded. Skeptics, on the other hand, may fall into the trap of dismissing the claims of UFO believers, for example, by stating that people who believe in UFO’s are crazy or stupid.

A common form of this fallacy is also frequently present in the arguments of conspiracy theorists (who also rely heavily on ad-hoc reasoning). For example, they may argue that the government must be lying because they are corrupt.

It should be noted that simply calling someone a name or otherwise making an ad hominem attack is not in itself a logical fallacy. It is only a fallacy to claim that an argument is wrong because of a negative attribute of someone making the argument. (i.e. “John is a jerk.” is not a fallacy. “John is wrong because he is a jerk.” is a logical fallacy.)

The term “poisoning the well” also refers to a form of ad hominem fallacy. This is an attempt to discredit the argument of another by implying that they possess an unsavory trait, or that they are affiliated with other beliefs or people that are wrong or unpopular. A common form of this also has its own name – Godwin’s Law or the reductio ad Hitlerum. This refers to an attempt at poisoning the well by drawing an analogy between another’s position and Hitler or the Nazis.