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Ad hominem is an informal fallacy whereby an interlocutor, often on the losing side of a debate or argument, resorts to character-based attacks directed at their opponent without any reference to the content or substance of her argument.
Making arguments and convincing others of a proposal is an essential part of human social and political life. Without engaging in arguments and the proposing of solutions, human beings would either be constantly warring with one another (why worry about convincing others when force works just as well) or forced to develop a wide range of skills. Both of these tasks, arguably, are considerably more time consuming than convincing others through well-developed and well-articulated arguments. But arguments are not always perfect, nor are we always in a position to adequately assess them. In such circumstances, arguers and assessors often employ extra-argumentative tactics...