Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

bias, ad hominem, testimony, argument evaluation, magical thinking

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

This paper is about bias and ad hominem arguments. It will begin by rehearsing some reasons for thinking that there are both legitimate and illegitimate ad hominems, as well as reasons for thinking that biases can be both justified and unjustified. It will explain that justified biases about people with certain social identities can give rise to both legitimate and illegitimate ad hominem attacks, while unjustified biases only give rise to illegitimate ad hominems.

The paper will then describe Audrey Yap’s view that even when an unjustified bias is made explicit and shown to be unjustified, it can still make certain fallacious ad hominem arguments seem persuasive. Finally, it will set out the opposite sort of problem: just as unjustified biases can make fallacious ad hominems seem persuasive even when the bias is made explicit, so too can unjustified biases make legitimate ad hominem arguments seem unpersuasive, even when the bias is made explicit.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Bias in Legitimate Ad Hominem Arguments

University of Windsor

This paper is about bias and ad hominem arguments. It will begin by rehearsing some reasons for thinking that there are both legitimate and illegitimate ad hominems, as well as reasons for thinking that biases can be both justified and unjustified. It will explain that justified biases about people with certain social identities can give rise to both legitimate and illegitimate ad hominem attacks, while unjustified biases only give rise to illegitimate ad hominems.

The paper will then describe Audrey Yap’s view that even when an unjustified bias is made explicit and shown to be unjustified, it can still make certain fallacious ad hominem arguments seem persuasive. Finally, it will set out the opposite sort of problem: just as unjustified biases can make fallacious ad hominems seem persuasive even when the bias is made explicit, so too can unjustified biases make legitimate ad hominem arguments seem unpersuasive, even when the bias is made explicit.