Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cheap Ad Hominems

I am sure many of you know what an ad hominem falacy is. For those who don't know, an ad hominem argument or fallacy is when an argument is refuted, ignored, or discounted through an attack on the person who makes said argument.  For example, an idea would be described as invalid as it was not written by "a researcher" or was put forth by "a doctoral student." Of course, credibility and credentials have some merit, but we know that good logic necessitates critiquing an augment or work on its own merit.

While perhaps not relevant to academic writing (or is it?), I am struck by the prevalence of two extremely common ad hominems: fan boy (fanboy), and hater. The first is used to discount extreme passion or interest in an idea or topic, while the other is used to discount criticism as being attributed not to a personality defect in the person challenge something.

Watch out for subtle uses of this in your work, and do not be swayed when others are using it.

1 comment:

  1. Could you give some examples of the fanboy fallacy and the hater fallacy?