The ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy associated with trying to undermine the opponent's arguments by personal attacks, through attacking their character or skill level, etc. The ad hominem attack uses an accepted fact about a person to undermine their credibility despite the lack of causal connection between the two parts of the argument.
Short for: Argumentum Ad Hominem
A few books to help you get a real handle on logical fallacies.
An Ad Hominem fallacy is a logical fallacy in which an argument is made based on attacking the character or personal traits of an individual, rather than focusing on the substance of the argument itself. This type of fallacy is often used as a means of discrediting an individual's opinion or argument without actually addressing the substance of the argument. The Latin phrase "ad hominem" literally translates to "to the person."
Ad Hominem fallacies are often used to distract from the actual topic at hand. This type of fallacy is often used in an attempt to discredit an individual's argument by attacking their character, rather than focusing on the actual argument itself. In essence, Ad Hominem fallacies involve attacking the individual instead of the argument. This type of fallacy is used to personalize an argument, which can be very effective in swaying the opinion of an audience.
An example of an Ad Hominem fallacy would be if someone were to argue that a particular political position is wrong because the individual who holds that position is of a different race or religion than the person making the argument. In this example, the individual is attempting to discredit the argument by attacking the individual's character rather than focusing on the actual argument. This type of fallacy is also commonly used in debates and political discourse, where opponents may attempt to discredit each other by attacking their character rather than focusing on the substance of the argument.
Ad Hominem fallacies can be very effective in persuading an audience, as they often focus on personal attributes rather than the actual substance of the argument. However, it is important to remember that this type of fallacy does not address the actual argument, and is often used as a means of avoiding the actual issue. As such, it is important to be aware of Ad Hominem fallacies and to be aware of how they can be used to distract from the actual issue at hand.