When an argument is presented, we should consider counter arguments and criticism of the original viewpoint. However, this criticism should remain focused on the argument, and should not become personal.
An ad hominem attack is when the person making the argument is criticized rather than the argument itself. This is not a valid form of argument.
Avoid ad hominem attacks by staying focused on the ideas and argument, rather than thinking about the person who presented them.Skillful 4
Read the extracts from the discussion on this past Monday’s podcast.
Identify the ad hominem attacks. Which extract does not contain an ad hominem attack?
B. You always look for issues to be black and white, but they aren’t.
2. That was a very powerful point made in the third article, I thought anyhow.
B. You would, though, wouldn’t you…. I remember you telling me that you were a big fan of some of those cyclists who were implicated….
3. Sorry, sorry….I was just saying…..
B. Ok, let’s get back to the point….Hana is right, I would say. There was no good argument against doping in any of the articles.
4. And why not just have separate events for dopers and clean athletes, as is suggested?
B. Hold on a minute….you always do this….make radical statements without thinking them through. How would we know they are clean?