Or taking what someone says with a grain of salt.
Some where, at some point, someone invented the ad hominem fallacy. Actually I think it was Aristotle, it is the sort of harsh pronouncement he is known for. I might be wrong.
For years now, I have thought there was something wrong with it. Now i know what it is. This fallacy is often fallacious.
Who hasn’t doubted what Hitler had to say? And wasn’t that Hitler said it, enough reason to doubt it?
But even without going a far as Hitler. Who doesn’t know a blowhard whose every word gives one new reason to doubt?
(Am I that blowhard? Don’t think so, I have doubt, lots and lots of doubt. Though I do get combative and loud. Hmmm. As one good friend would say “I rest my case”)
More academically, we understand that the cultural background or the point of view of a person will affect their perceptions, the relevance of what they have to say. So why would it be a fallacy to take that into account?
(It has been a while since i blogged and this is what was on my mind.)