We are entering the silly season when politicians clamor for our attention and vote. They and their minions will pronounce a variety of charges, denials, innuendos, attacks, defenses, and sometimes outright lies about their opponents. One of the most commonly used weapons is “Argumentum Ad Hominem” or “argument against the person.”
This is not necessarily a bad thing. We elect people, not ideas, despite what some would like us to believe. Character is a vital component of leadership, so questioning a candidates’ character is not at all out of bounds. However, attacking with irrelevant accusations or false information ought to be against the rules because it confuses the issues. We voters need to be able to tell the difference between a legitimate argument against a person and a false one.
We also need to understand that we are very likely to believe what is convenient and comfortable for us and less likely to sympathize with data that contradicts our beliefs. Objectivity is a rare thing in an election year and it all but disappears as November approaches.
Consequently, SGCCI offers this link to an insightful article on Argumentum Ad Hominem. In future posts we intend to discuss other fallacies in logic, such as Argumentum Ad Verecundain, Odium and others as they pertain to this political season.