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John Doe is at it again. In another one of his liberal, big business schemes, he's after tax-payers' pocket books, trying to convince them that Phoenix needs a rail system. Phoenicians know better. Our freeways and bus system are doing just fine. Since when did Doe regain our trust, anyway? His last idea cost millions and voters had to repeal his proposition to keep the state coffers from being emptied. If Doe is expecting us to forget that, he's as crazy as his idea for light rail. Vote "No" on November 7.
*Explain how the example paragraph above illustrates ad hominem fallacy and why that fallacy makes the argument weak.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
First, let's understand what an Ad Hominem is. Basically it is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Too much? Okay, let's take a simpler look:
1. Person A makes claim X.
2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
3. Therefore A's claim is false.
In this case Person A is John Doe and Person B is the author of the statement attacking John Doe's claim. John Doe's claim is that Phoenix needs a rail system. The author rebukes this claim with several attacks at John Doe's intentions, using the state's funds as the basis for the main argument. Whether Doe genuinely wants to improve the rail system has become irrelevant and instead the author focuses on a past endeavor. What makes the argument weak is the lack of supporting facts. It's an argument based solely on biased opinions and resorts to name calling, making the author seem desperate to discredit John Doe. The main goal is to make the reader of the statement doubt John Doe's actions, present and future.
Tom: I'd like the town to have sidewalks.
Greg: Of course you do, you're just out to build projects we don't need and steal money.
Tom: No, the town needs sidewalks. Children have to walk on the grass and risk getting hit.
Greg: No, they're fine. Remember the town hall you wanted? It cost lots of money and we couldn't do it. You're a greedy pig.
Tom: There were problems with construction and we had to stop the project. It wasn't like that.
Greg. You mess up once and you're a liar and thief. I won't trust anything you say.
Of course you may see the argument being weak for different reasons and I hope this had helped you. Things like this are an unfortunate yet extremely popular method when it comes to elected officials when they want the people's vote.Source(s): http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html