General Question

Ailia's avatar

Is this an example of an ad hominem argument?

Asked by Ailia (1363points) November 29th, 2009

Is someone says, in general not to anyone specific, no fool has ever a made a deal with the devil because he is too much of a fool, is that considered an ad hominem argument? If it is, would it still be considered an ad hominem argument if you added to that argument and said, or the devil is too much of a devil.
Does that make sense?

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8 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

“Is someone says, in general not to anyone specific”

That pretty much makes it so it can’t be an ad hominem attack.

jrpowell's avatar

A ad hom is something like. “You are a drunk so everything you say is false.”

Ailia's avatar

@johnpowell Well they didn’t exactly say that, they said, “I take it no fool etc.” But I guess it doesn’t matter. However would this be considered as some other type of argument though?

laureth's avatar

Ad hominem is where you attack the person making the argument, not the argument itself.

Let’s say two candidates are having a debate. One says, “I think that college should be free for all students.” For a rebuttal, the other candidate says, “That’s silly, because you cheat on your wife, you loser.” He’s not debating college costs, he’s attacking the man himself – ad hominem.

Ailia's avatar

@laureth Well what if one man is arguing to another man that he is too dull to see something. Is that an ad hominem?

laureth's avatar

Does this help? The key issue is the relevance of the character attack on the argument at hand. If the arguer is too insensitive to perceive the evidence regarding the argument, that’s at least semi-relevant.

ninjacolin's avatar

I’m guessing that you’ve seriously misquoted whatever it is you’re trying to quote about fools and the devil.. but anyway, it sounds like what you’re really looking for is the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

one exmaple:
“real men drink beer!” which implies that you can’t be caught drinking gin or any girly drinks. you have to drink beer to be a “real man.”

another example:
“only a fool would work as a janitor.” which implies that Smart people don’t take those kinds of jobs and if you want to be a smart person, you wouldn’t take that job either.

or in your case:
“even a fool wouldn’t make a deal with the devil.” which implies that if you want to be something that’s AT LEAST smarter than a fool, don’t make a deal with the devil.

anyway, it’s almost ad hominem but it’s not.

Ailia's avatar

@laureth Thanks, that helped quite a bit. @ninjacolin Yeah I probably did, ;) But oh well at least now I know its not an ad hominem. Thanks :)

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