argumentum ad baculum|
argumentum ad hominem|
There are three major forms of Attacking the Person:
- ad hominem (abusive): instead of attacking an assertion,
the argument attacks the person who made the assertion.
- ad hominem (circumstantial): instead of attacking an
assertion the author points to the relationship between the
person making the assertion and the person's circumstances.
- ad hominem (tu quoque): this form of attack on the
person notes that a person does not practise what he
The person presenting an argument is attacked instead of the argument itself. This takes many forms. For example, the person's character, nationality or religion may be attacked. Alternatively, it may be pointed out that a person stands to gain from a favourable outcome. Or, finally, a person may be attacked by association, or by the company he keeps.
argumentum ad hominem tu quoque|
argumentum ad ignorantiam|
Arguments of this form assume that since something has not been proven false, it is therefore true. Conversely, such an argument may assume that since something has not been proven true, it is therefore false.
argumentum ad misericordiam|
argumentum ad populum|
argumentum ad verecundiam|
While sometimes it may be appropriate to cite an authority to
support a point, often it is not. In particular, an appeal to
authority is inappropriate if:
- the person is not qualified to have an expert
opinion on the subject,
- experts in the field disagree on this issue.
- the authority was making a joke, drunk, or
otherwise not being serious
A variation of the fallacious appeal to authority is hearsay. An
argument from hearsay is an argument which depends on
second or third hand sources.