Term of Art: Ad Hominem

“Ad Hominem To the man: appealing to the sentiments or prejudices of the hearer of listener rather than to his or her reason or intelligence; disparaging a person’s character rather than his or her sentiments; personal rather than substantive or ideological.

‘The boss knows all about the so-called fallacy of the argumentum ad hominem. ‘It may be a fallacy,’ he said, ‘ but it is shore-God useful. If you use the right kind of argumentum, you can always scare the hominem into a laundry bill he didn’t expect.’ Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men.”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

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