Would you like to add or edit content here? Here's how you can have an account!

Ad Hominem

From FreeThoughtPedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Latin Translation: 'Against the man' or 'Against the person'.

Definition: A fallacious attack against a claim or an argument on the basis of an irrelevant fact regarding the presenting claim or argument.


How Ad Hominem works:

1) Person A makes claim X.

2) Person B disregards the claim and attacks person A.

3) Therefore A's claim is false.


  • Person A: I believe that Anarchy as a social structure, though well presented on paper, is an unachievable goal due to negative aspects of human nature.
Person B: You only think that because you're a Socialist.
  • I couldn't care less what that fat pig, Michael Moore has to say.

Current Implications

Ad Hominem is now a standard practice in mainstream media/editorial. Polarizing public opinion is often accomplished by sweeping generalization: What do you expect from a liberal?. This technique takes Ad Hominem a step further and seeks to create or demonize a particular social categorization, associate the person with such a group, and as a result discount the individual and the value of his opinion. When you see people refer to others by these generalized groups (secularist, atheist, liberal, conservative, hippy, etc.) be wary of the veiled attempt at ad hominem.

For example, in mainstream America, Christians have erroneously tried to associate atheism with satanism, and therefore seek to discredit the identity of an atheist as more of the evil opposite of Christianity, than what it really is, a lack of belief in all such supernatural mythology. In this manner, the reference to atheism, in the eyes of a misinformed Christian, is an ad hominem.

--Pile 11:08, 16 July 2007 (CDT)

Video Demonstrations

Nobody does Ad Hominems more frequently than Fox New's Bill O'Reilly:

Variations on Ad Hominem


Needling is an attempt to antagonize, annoy or anger your opponent. This can be used as a delaying tactic or to throw them off. It often involves the use of ad hominem insults or insinuations.

Straw Man

Many ad hominem attacks involve creating a straw man -- an exaggerated caricature of a person, position or issue and attributing that to the person being attacked.


This article is primarily written and administered by pile. If you wish to contribute any major changes to the content, use the Discussion/Talk page to suggest changes and improvements, otherwise minor changes and corrections are appreciated.

This site costs a lot of money in bandwidth and resources. We are glad to bring it to you free, but would you consider helping support our site by making a donation? Any amount would go a long way towards helping us continue to provide this useful service to the community.

Click on the Paypal button below to donate. Your support is most appreciated!

Personal tools
Partner Sites
Support Freethoughtpedia.com

Online Shop