The Problem With Ex-Hominem Arguments

In this video I talk about the problem of ex-hominem arguments, that is, arguments “from the man”. These are arguments in which the person making the argument uses himself (or, more often, some trait of his) as a premise in his argument. The classic example is “I did X as a kid and I turned out all right” but it’s surprisingly common once you watch out for it. It’s not invalid to do, but it does cause some problems when a person does it, namely, that an ad-hominem argument becomes a necessary and valid response. In the example above, if the guy didn’t actually turn out OK, then how he turned out is not proof that the X was fine to do as a kid.

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