Searching for the Roots of the Circumstantial Ad Hominem

Argumentation 15 (2):207-221 (2001)

This paper looks into the known evidence on the origins of the type of argument called the circumstantial ad hominemargument in modern logic textbooks, and introduces some new evidence. This new evidence comes primarily from recent historical work by Jaap Mansfeld and Jonathan Barnes citing many cases where philosophers in the ancient world were attacked on the grounds that their personal actions failed to be consistent with their philosophical teachings. On the total body of evidence, two hypotheses about the roots of the circumstantial ad hominem are considered. One is that it came from Aristotle through Locke. The other is that it may have had separate roots in these ancient philosophical writings that criticized philosophers for not practicing what they preached
Keywords ad hominem argument  argument against the person  character attack  consistency  ethical conduct  fallacies  integrity  logic  personal attack  rhetoric  virtue
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DOI 10.1023/A:1011120100277
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