Tag Archive: personal attack

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Learn to Identify the Ad Hominem Fallacy, You Jerk

Everyone knows you should never take health instructions from an overweight doctor. Don’t go see the new Tom Cruise film — he’s a Scientologist. And never, but never, take lawn-upkeep advice from one of them Libertarians.

Each of these arguments rely on the same logical fallacy: Ad Hominem. They’re common, and if you’ve ever watched Glenn Beck you probably appreciate the need for their dismissal.

We have something of a tendency to allow these fallacies to corrupt our thinking in standard discourse — we may look less favorably on New York’s financial regulation after learning of Elliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal, for example. Ultimately, however, arguments on the LSAT should be judged on their merit, not on the alleged character of the arguer.