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The Ad Hominem Fallacy: When is it okay to call someone a jerk?

At a recent ASR pub night one of our speakers was told that he had used an ad hominem to describe some of the targets of his talk, and I immediately noticed that the accuser was incorrect. Our speaker was an erudite man, so rather than butt in I allowed him to handle the complaint. He explained his opinions quite well – but not why what he’d said was not an ad hominem. So let’s attempt to clear the air, because the reasoning is easily understood.