Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!

one moment please...

Ad Hominem (Tu quoque)

argumentum ad hominem tu quoque

(also known as:  “you too” fallacy, hypocrisy, personal inconsistency)

Description: Claiming the argument is flawed by pointing out that the one making the argument is not acting consistently with the claims of the argument.

Logical Form:

Person 1 is claiming that Y is true, but person 1 is acting as if Y is not true.

Therefore, Y must not be true.

Example #1:

Helga: You should not be eating that... it has been scientifically proven that eating fat burgers are no good for your health.

Hugh: You eat fat burgers all the time so that can’t be true.

Explanation: It doesn’t matter (to the truth claim of the argument at least) if Helga follows her own advice or not.  While it might appear that the reason she does not follow her own advice is that she doesn’t believe it’s true, it could also be that those fat burgers are just too damn irresistible.

Example #2:

Jimmy Swaggart argued strongly against sexual immorality, yet he has had several affairs with prostitutes; therefore, sexual immorality is acceptable.

Explanation: The fact Jimmy Swaggart likes to play a round of bedroom golf with some local entrepreneurial ladies, is not evidence for sexual immorality in general, only that he is sexually immoral.

Exception: If Jimbo insisted that his actions were in line with sexual morality, then it would be a very germane part of the argument.

Tip: Again, admit when your lack of self-control or willpower has nothing to do with the truth claim of the proposition.  The following is what I remember my dad telling me about smoking (he smoked about four packs a day since he was 14).

Bo, never be a stupid a--hole like me and start smoking.  It is a disgusting habit that I know will eventually kill me.  If you never start, you will never miss it.

My dad died at age 69 -- of lung cancer.  I never touched a cigarette in my life and never plan to touch one.


Walton, D. (1998). Ad hominem arguments. University of Alabama Press.

Registered User Comments

Become a Logical Fallacy Master. Choose Your Poison.

Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.

Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:

Not Much of a Reader? No Problem!

Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!

Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.

Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.

About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.