ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM
Somebody says criminal is bad people. Is it true? If it is true, this could be a form of fallacy. Fallacy is a misconception leads to unreasonable argument or disbelief in people's ideas. It happens with us everyday. Fallacy has many types and I want to refer to one of them: Ad Hominem. It is a judgment about people's appearance than the validity of their ideas, abilities, or work
We usually see this fallacy in our life like politic, demonstration, even in our working environment. For example: politicians use others personal lives in debate to disqualify their opponents' arguments or use races to deny people's right to work or bosses use their experiences to judge their employees' work progress
So we need to understand how Ad Hominem fallacy is used and how to avoid them. First, we should understand what Ad Hominem is. An Ad Hominem fallacy has many different meanings depend on the situation and the people in that case. The online dictionary states that this fallacy means "appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason, "or "attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.". According to Glen Whitman at Northridge University, "Ad Hominem is argument directed at the person. This is the error of attacking the character or motives of a person who has stated an idea, rather than the idea itself. The most obvious example of this fallacy is when one debater maligns the character of another debater." But in philosophy study at Lander University, Ad Hominem is defined as "the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument." Based on what I see in my personal life, this fallacy means that people judge each other's action by their emotions, experiences and what they are told about others rather than their actions, ideas or their abilities. As we know fallacies are used very often in our lives. Ad Hominem fallacy is not an exception. Lately, in Democrat's governor nominee election, I noticed an Ad Hominem fallacy happened between Phil Angelides and Steve Westley. They used each other personal life and their investments against each other instead of proving each other wrong by scientific proofs. The environment was the subject of many exchanges TV ads between them. I remembered there was a Westly's ad out accusing "Real Estate Developer Phil Angelides" as an anti-environmentalist. Westly used Phil's careers, real estate developer, to disprove his argument about improve and protect environment. He create misunderstanding for voters by developing the thought that Phil Angelides, a person who wants to build estates on natural land , can't be a person who lave environment. Meanwhile, Phil used Steve's wealthy, a millionaire, EBay' vice-president, to against his proposal of not raising tax. The reason is so simple: Steve is rich and rich people don't want to lose their money for tax. All these ads didn't show us how their proposal will affect people but how bad their images. We also see people demonstrate on the street lately against illegal immigration of Hispanic because they believe that those people will take American's jobs and create criminals. They thought like that because we see many Hispanic criminal on the street. But the truth is American mostly don't want Hispanic come to America and become more popular than white people, original American. Or we can go back a century ago when white people called black people "Negro" and treat them unequal as slaves because they have different skin color, not because of their actions. How can we know if white people are smarter, better than black people when we are created with the same form: human form. Closer than public events, in our daily personal lives, we also see this type of fallacy happens a lot; even we sometimes create an ad...
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