Ad Hominem Fallacy

🧠 Psych - 106 / 200

Hey Reader!

Hope you are having a good time in this month of August.

Today, We are going to discuss the Ad Hominem Fallacy.

What is it?

“Argument against the person”. Where the focus is diverted from the strength of an argument itself to the qualities of the person making the argument.

Examples -

Donald Trump made a comment in 2016 regarding Carly Fiorina, a woman who was going for the Republican presidential nomination. Here’s a quote:

Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?

He attacked the individual rather than addressing anything relevant to the topic at hand.

Where does it occur?

Debates, conversations, arguments taking place over figuring out who is right or wrong in regards to a particular context.

Why do I need to know?

One of the first things to keep in mind is that the ad hominem argument can be seen as a compliment.

If an opponent is casting aspersions on your character, it often means that they are unable to effectively refute your actual point.

Takeaways: -

If they are deviating from the actual point and taking things personally, they might be losing already.

But here’s the catch. They might win the audience. That’s because these arguments are effective.

References & Studies: -

  1. Tindale, C. W. (2007). “Ad Hominem Arguments: Fallacies and Argument Appraisal.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 81.


Learn psychology through emojis & support this free work. Check out my ebook!

Looking for previous issues? Take a look at the Archives.