Literary Devices IV
Ad hominem is directly from Latin, meaning 'to the man.' This literary device is the critique of the character or habits of someone who, at that time, is making an argument. Here, it would progress the conversation to counter the logicality or feasibility of the argument. One attacks the other's character likely because he or she lacks a counter or a wish to construct a counter. These ad hominems come in a few kinds.
The abusive ad hominem is the regular ad hominem.
Tu quoque translates into 'you, too.' This ad hominem tu quoque critiques the arguer for doing what he is condemning. Here is an example. Without a daily schedule, John advises Brian to schedule his (Brian's) days. Brian responds, 'Be quiet, even you have no schedule.' Brian disregarded John's advice by noting John's lack of a schedule. Another example is "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Jesus employs ad hominem tu quoque to cause the crowd to examine their actions and judge themselves first before doing so to others. One could also use the device in the reverse. Thus, a guy concludes that because another did this, he can. An example is one of Martin Shkreli's justifications for raising the price of an HIV/AIDS drug 50-fold. It is, "Everbody's doing it." Therefore, by this logic, he can, too.
Ad hominem circumstantial is the argument against one because of the circumstances. Because of the circumstances, the person can therefore not be unbiased. Thus, whatever he or she says may never be true. An example is this. An oligarch champions capitalism and democracy because he now thinks the people should rule. For a cynic, the oligarch only accepts democracy, so others let their guards down. When they do, he, with his wealth, will control the democracy as he did the oligarchy. Hearing this explanation, most would never believe the oligarch's support didn't have any innuendo attached. So, the support for democracy cannot be true, and the idea of democracy cannot be, either.Here's another. Bill and Kevin are playing. Kevin wins the first game. Bill suggests playing three games. Who wins 2 out of 3 is the true winner? Kevin says that Bill only wants to play more because of the loss, although Bill could just like playing. Kevin, therefore, dismisses the whole idea of three games.Sometimes, this ad hominem circumstantial is true. Bill could have thought of the three games because of his loss. But if this reason is true, Kevin shouldn't use it for why he doesn't want another game because Bill could argue that Kevin doesn't want another game because he fears losing. These arguments could become an endless cycle, so it's best not to use them.
Guilt by Association
Guilt by association attacks on the basis of relationships (or lack of), with persons, objects, ideas, or anything else. There are many examples of this in our personal lives as well as politics.Now you have all the types of ad hominem. So, when a writer uses it, you understand it.