Ad Hominem Examples

Ad Hominem

When an argument is built around an emotional appeal, rather than logical appeal, it is called an ad hominem argument. In addition, when an emotional attack on a person or his/her character is made, rather than refuting the points he/she made, it is also called ad hominem.

Both types of ad hominem arguments are based on emotions, not facts. One type of ad hominem argument appeals to the emotions of the listener. The other type of ad hominem argument emotionally attacks a person's character rather than logically arguing against his/her position.

Examples of Ad Hominem:

1. A politician arguing that his opponent cannot possibly be a good choice for women because he has been married and divorced five times.

2. A lawyer argues that his client cannot be held responsible for his actions because he was abused as a child.

3. A parent says the teacher doesn't know how to teach because she was not accepted into the local university and had to go to a smaller college.

4. A mother says that she does not trust her pediatrician because he has never been a mother.

5. A commercial for cat food shows a cat lovingly rubbing her owners face after eating a specific brand of food.

Examples of Ad Hominem Arguments from Speech or Advertisement

1. "And I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they're fearful of their base and they're concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them... " President Obama

2. Congressman Darell Issa calls Whitehouse Spokesperson Jay Carney a "paid liar."

3. "There has been no vision or inspirational leadership emerging from the First person of the province, communities are losing hope and all the Premier does is wear a better outfit every day, and shining like a lamp pole." Provincial Secretary Tony Ehrenreich, South Africa

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