Take My Advice—I Am Not Following It: Ad Hominem Arguments as Legitimate Rebuttals to Appeals to Authority

Moti Mizrahi


In this paper, I argue that ad hominem arguments are not always fallacious. More explicitly, in certain cases of practical reasoning, the circumstances of a person are relevant to whether or not the conclusion should be accepted. This occurs, I suggest, when a person gives advice to others or prescribes certain courses of action but fails to follow her own advice or act in accordance with her own prescriptions. This is not an instance of a fallacious tu quoque provided that such circumstantial ad hominem arguments are construed as rebuttals to appeals to (administrative) authority (of expertise), or so I argue.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/il.v30i4.2990

ISSN: 0824-2577