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Argument ad hominem

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According to Discovering the World through Debate, an "argument ad hominem" is "A fallacy that occurs when an arguer attacks a person’s character or background, which irrelevant to the claim" (246).

The Latin phrase "ad hominem" when taken to mean "to the man" implies a gender bias. Today, however, ad hominem is often taken to mean "to the person," in order to explicitly include both men and women. Because of contemporary concerns over gender bias in language and because of the uncertainty surrounding the gender of ad hominem (that is, it may have originally been a masculine or neutral form), the term "ad feminam" has arisen in recent years, to compliment ad hominem.

Historically, since men dominated public political discourse, it is appropriate that such a concern over "ad hominem" exists today, because in contemporary times, both men and women have the right to participate in and debate socio-political issues.



"Works Cited"

Trapp, Robert, et al. Discovering the World through Debate: A Practical Guide to Educational Debate for Debaters, Coaches, and Judges. Third Edition. New York: IDEA Press Books, 2005.

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