“Three Puzzles About the Ad Hominem Fallacy” With Scott Aikin

Join MSU Philosophy on April 12 at 3PM at Bessey Hall, Room 106 for the inaugural lecture in the Asquith Colloquia in Arguments, Reasoning, and Logic of Ordinary Discourse. Scott Aikin, Professor at Vanderbilt University, will present his talk called “Three Puzzles About the Ad Hominem Fallacy”.

The ad hominem appears to be the simplest fallacy form – one criticizes speakers instead of their statements or arguments.  It is regularly taken to be a fallacy of irrelevance, in that who is speaking does not bear on the truth of what is said.  But three puzzles attend this analysis. (1) Given that the fallacy is simple and seemingly obvious, how could it be effective in practice? (2) Are there not cases when who is speaking is relevant? How do we sort those cases from those where it is irrelevant? (3) Isn’t there another level to the ad hominem, one where and when we are observing it, we are also finding an indicator of argument norms?  Accusing another of committing the ad hominem, on this line of thought, has broader implications.

About Scott: Scott Aikin is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He specializes in epistemology, ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and argumentation theory. He is the author of Epistemology and the Regress Problem (Routledge), Why We Argue (with Robert Talisse, Routledge), and Straw Man Arguments (with John Casey, Bloomsbury).

To join via Zoom:

Link: https://msu.zoom.us/j/99329403867
Passcode: Levels


Apr 12, 2024


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm