CH. 9FALLACIOUS COUNTERARGUMENTS & OTHER FALLACIES IN WRITING PHILOSOPHY FALLACIOUS COUNTERARGUMENTS AD HOMINEM ABUSIVE (PERSONAL ATTACK AD HOMINEM) Pointing out irrelevant characteristics of the person rather than focusing on the actual argument Example Emperor Domitian: Epictetus is not only a religious slave, but he is ugly too. Therefore, his philosophy is garbage. AD HOMINEM CIRCUMSTANTIAL Example Using someone’s personal circumstances, biases, or vested interests when opposing the other person’s argument Aristotle: You are only saying that because you are a woman, so you are wrong. Pythias: I think we should get more women in philosophy. AD HOMINEM TU QUOQUE (INCONSISTENCY AD HOMINEM) Example Opposing an argument by pointing out a person’s hypocritical actions My mom tells me not to experiment with drugs, but she experimented with drugs when she was my age. AD HOMINEM POISONING THE WELL Example Personally attacking people even before they present an argument At the beginning of the debate, one arguer says of the other: My opponent has a record of lying. Don’t believe a word he is about to say. STRAW MAN Example Ignoring the argument at hand by substituting it with a distorted and exaggerated view Dorothy: Marijuana should be legalized. Scarecrow: Marijuana is a drug. We should not legalize drugs. Drugs are dangerous and if we legalize it children will be doing drugs. OTHER FALLACIES IN WRITING Example RED HERRING Distracting from the main issue at hand by introducing irrelevant information Husband: I can’t believe you’ve spent all our savings! Wife: Hurry up and get ready. We have a dinner to attend! NON SEQUITUR Drawing a conclusion that does not follow with the premise or evidence Example Studies show that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. So, they clearly are not as smart as men.