Ad Hominem Fallacy

Ad hominem means “against the man,” and this type of fallacy is sometimes called name calling or the personal attack fallacy. This type of fallacy occurs when someone attacks the person instead of attacking his or her argument.

Person 1:

I promise to balance the budget in my first year as governor!

Person 2:

She promises to balance the budget, but she couldn’t be smart enough because she never ran a business.

Check out Dr. Fallacy as he tries to get away with this type of fallacy. Thankfully, Captain Logic OWL saves the day!

Ad Hominem logical fallacy comic with the evil Dr. Fallacy

Image Transcript
Meanwhile, in the Montana state governor’s race…

Candidate: …and because of that, I will balance the budget in my first year as governor!

Dr. Fallacy: Well, you’ve never run a business before, so how could you possibly be smart enough to balance the budget?

Audience member 1: Gasp! Oh no!

Audience member 2: What does that mean?

Ad hominem logical fallacy comic with the OWL Superhero

Image Transcript
[Captain Logic Owl swooshes in.]

Captain Logic Owl: Dr. Fallacy, you’re attacking your opponent as a person and not addressing her issue at all. That’s an ad hominem fallacy!

Dr. Fallacy: Drats! Foiled again by logic! I’ll get elected one day…

Audience member 1: Look, up there!

Audience member 2: It’s Captain Logic Owl!

Audience member 3: He’s here to save the day!

In this example, Dr. Fallacy doesn’t address the issue of balancing a budget and, instead, attacks the person. When we attack the person instead of tackling the issue, our audience might think we don’t understand the issue or can’t disprove our opponent’s view. It’s better to stick to the issue at hand and avoid ad hominem fallacies.

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