Op ed

Come Let usThink Together in Logic (part 4)

The ability to think is a universal endowment of humans. But, it is not everyone that can actually think clearly. Precise thinking is gained through an added effort upon human rationality or intelligence. Clarity of thought is like a staircase to certitude in knowledge. Ambiguity in thinking creates ambiguity in lifestyle. And ambiguity in lifestyle is nothing other than bundles of confusion.  

There are logical blunders every where which people make when they talk or present an argument. But yet they tend to try to win other people based on those.  In logical terminologies blunders in reasoning process is called fallacies.  And fallacy means a false assumption, incorrect, deceitful or invalid argument. Good reasoning process would help anyone to be able to factor in soundness when it comes to self expression via conceptual grasp of the essence of issues, ideas, statement, affirmations, claims and so on and so forth.

Let us explore one of the fallacious or deceitful methods of reasoning or expression which unknowingly people have conventionally adopted without second thought. The better we understand fallacies, the better chance we are to tell someone who tries to trick us “hei! You are drifting from the main point”. For when we are able to detect statement of errors, we would be improving the world around us.

First of all, we would begin to ex-ray and juxtapose the intrigues of the bellow fallacy.

Argumentun Ad Hominem (Argument to the man or attack against the man)

Have you ever felt severely attacked when you wanted to express a viewpoint. Perhaps someone might be using Ad Hominem on you. This is how it works. Ad Hominem leave the real issue at stake and begins to attack the presenter of the issue. When the presenter of the viewpoint is under a severe hot seat, and he or she is a weakling, he or she might be forced to cower or drop the furtherance of his/her idea.

So when you want to speak about an issue and someone turns around and begins to attack your personality, learn to redirect his mind back to the cardinal point at stake and tell him that you are different from the issue which you have witnessed and are presenting. Even lawyers use Ad Hominem as an intimidation strategy against someone presenting a witness or a viewpoint. And sometimes, a constituted jury that are not careful enough might follow the trend.

Let’s take a few examples how Ad Hominem works in real life situation.

Say in court, Mss Ifeoma is an eye witness against Mr. Ben accused of murder. And Mr. Ben’s defense lawyer, during cross-examination begins to attack the personality of Mss. Ifeoma (who was a retired prostitute). The lawyer dwells on the issue of Ifeoma’s prostitution at length. If care is not taken, this attack on Ifeoma’s ugly past might begin to divert attention from the REAL ISSUE at stake—her eye witness account of Mr. Ben’s crime of murder. Does the fact that Ifeoma was a prostitute destroy her credible eye witness account? No. The lawyer is being fallacious in his reasoning, perhaps tricky too.

Let’s take another example outside the courtroom.

Let’s say Aremu is a Nigerian preacher in London; he stands on the stage to condemn economic exploitation of Nigerian immigrants. Then an English man stood up and says the following:

 “how can you argue against economic exploitation when you come from Nigeria, a country well known for scamming”.

Here, the English man in question is resorting to Ad Hominem. He is shifting from the REAL argument and attacking the personality of Aremu the preacher or rather the class of people in which Mr. Aremu happens to belong to.

Once more let’s take still another case an example,

Olivia has made claims that Germany is not part of Europe. Brenda stood up and corrected her. Then Olivia restored:

“how can you correct me when you failed all your courses in the university, you are just an ignorant folk”.

This is another classic example of Ad Hominem form of argument. Again someone’s personality is been attacked and not the real issue.

It is worthy of note that Ad Hominem is divisively calculated to intimidate, anger and ridicule the opponent and his/her viewpoint. It is also meant to shift attention from the essence of an argument. So next time you say something and people leave what you said and begin to attack your personality, learn to stubbornly stand on the original topic and draw them back to the real issue.

Watch out for Part 5 soon.

2009-03-26-538

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