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Essential Logic: The Logical Fallacies

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  1. Introduction
    Essential Logic: The Logical Fallacies---Course Introduction
    4Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  2. Lessons
    Lesson 1: Ad Hominem Abusive (Preview Content)
    4Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  3. Lesson 2: Ad Hominem Circumstantial (Preview Content)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  4. Lesson 3: Tu Quoque (Preview Content)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  5. Lesson 4: Genetic Fallacy
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  6. Lesson 5: Appeal to Fear (Argumentum Ad Baculum)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  7. Lesson 6: Appeal to Pity (Argumentum Ad Misericordiam)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  8. Lesson 7: Mob Appeal (Argumentum Ad Populum)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  9. Lesson 8: Snob Appeal
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  10. Lesson 9: Appeal to Illegitimate Authority (Argumentum Ad Verecundiam)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  11. Lesson 10: Chronological Snobbery
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  12. Lesson 11: Appeal to Ignorance
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  13. Lesson 12: Irrelevant Goals and Functions
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  14. Lesson 13: Irrelevant Thesis
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  15. Lesson 14: Straw Man Fallacy
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  16. Lesson 15: Begging the Question (Petitio Principii)
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  17. Lesson 16: Bifurcation (False Dilemma)
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  18. Lesson 17: Fallacy of Moderation
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  19. Lesson 18: Is-Ought Fallacy
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  20. Lesson 19: Fallacy of Composition
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  21. Lesson 20: Fallacy of Division
    3Topics
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    1 Quiz
  22. Lesson 21: Sweeping Generalization (Accident)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  23. Lesson 22: Hasty Generalization (Converse Accident)
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  24. Lesson 23: False Analogy
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  25. Lesson 24: False Cause
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  26. Lesson 25: Fake Precision
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  27. Lesson 26: Equivocation
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  28. Lesson 27: Accent
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  29. Lesson 28: Distinction without a Difference
    3Topics
    |
    1 Quiz
  30. Lesson 29: The Frenetic Fallacy (Extra)
    1Topic
  31. Discussions
    Discussion: Meet the Students
  32. Discussion: Four Students, Full of Fallacies
  33. End of Course Test
    End of Course Test: The Logical Fallacies
    1 Quiz
Lesson 3 of 33
In Progress

Lesson 2: Ad Hominem Circumstantial (Preview Content)

In this session, teacher Joelle Hodge leads the discussion about the ad hominem circumstantial fallacy. This fallacy is similar to the ad hominem abusive fallacy in that it attacks a person; but note that it attacks the opponent’s circumstances in particular rather than simply generally abusing the opponent.

Outline of Session

(00:20) A student distinguishes the ad hominem abusive from the ad hominem circumstantial.

(01:04) Definition of ad hominem circumstantial from the Art of Argument textbook. They “try to discredit an opponent because of his background, affiliations, or self-interest in the matter at hand.”

(01:57) Joelle provides an example of an ad hominem circumstantial—using the example of a student who wants to film this video series at her house because she doesn’t want to bother with getting ready to go to another location. This is attacking the student’s “circumstances,” instead of the real issue.

(04:01) Dr. Perrin introduces another example of an ad hominem circumstantial.

(5:22) The students exchange good-natured attacks on each other, based on the circumstances surrounding each of them.

(06:27) Joelle points out that many arguments quickly go off track and devolve into ad hominem attacks. Thus, the necessity of staying focused on “What is the issue at hand?”

(07:06) Seth gives another example—a person from England can’t understand the American governmental system because she is from a country which has a monarchy.

(08:41) A student brings up the example of abortion—some may argue that a man cannot be pro-life because of his gender (his circumstance).

(10:30) Dr. Perrin notes that this is a good example of a common maxim in the Art of Argument textbook—“That may be true, but it’s irrelevant.”

(11:29) Joelle asks the students to dig deeper into how someone would feel when they are attacked by an ad hominem circumstantial.

(12:55) Dr. Perrin shifts the discussion to the topic of women in combat.

(14:34) Dr. Perrin points out that many disagreements between children and parents (or students and teachers) boil down to an ad hominem circumstantial—“You can’t understand because you’re older/younger!”

(16:05) Joelle reminds everyone of the necessity to bring arguments back to the issue at hand, and to not be distracted by circumstances.