Ad Hominem arguments attack the source of an argument - not anything within the argument itself.

So Kim argues that "[C] El Taquito is the best Mexican restaurant in town. [P] They make their own tortillas, [P] they only use the freshest ingredients, and [P] everything I've had there has been delicious."

Art replies: "Kim is Japanese, and so we can ignore his opinion on Mexican food."

Art's response, obviously, does not address any of the reasons Kim has offered for his claim that El Taquito is the best Mexican restaurant in town - Art has only attacked Kim as the source of the claim.


Danger! Name-calling by itself is not ad hominem. Rather, the attack on the arguer must occur as an ostensible attack on an argument. If no argument is offered - there is no ad hominem (or any other kind of fallacy) at work.

Consider: are the following (a) arguments, and if so (b) examples of ad hominem fallacy?
Consider further: if these are not explicit arguments - because they lack explicit conclusions - can you "translate" them into arguments by making their implicit conclusions explicit?

1. Christians? Jesus Christ admonished his followers to feed the hungry. These people declare catsup a vegetable and try to eliminate free lunches for the homeless. They fight tooth and nail against appropriations for the street people spending cold winter nights on heating grates. Jesus Christ was the Prince of Peace. They build the biggest war machine the world has ever known, then heroically invade an island the size of Cedar Rapids.

2. Conservatives? These fanatics are not conservatives. Robert Taft was a conservative. These Neanderthals are not Christians. Martin Luther King was a Christian. What we're dealing with here are a bunch of half-baked, hard-core, fire-and-brimstone McCarthyites, racists, sexual hypocrites and assorted flat-earthers and book-burners, and it's time society started labeling them as such.

3. "The Democrats are literally bewitched by feminists, whose agenda is simple: teach women to hate their husbands, kill their children, and become lesbians. A vote for the Democrats is a vote against family and for immorality."

4. A: Of course I'm voting for the Reagan budget and tax bills. We need a strong defense - and by lowering the taxes on the wealthy, more capital will be available for investment, thus insuring economic prosperity and jobs.
B: According to Lester Thurow, Lyndon Johnson's high military budget for Vietnam, coupled with a large tax cut, was a primary cause of the inflation of the 60's and early 70's. Reagan's proposed increase in military spending is three times the increase Johnson established. Don't you think this program might be risky?
A: Not at all. I'm a firm believer in it. Those economists don't know what they're talking about.

5. The President's budget proposal is absurd. After all, no real President would let himself be pushed around by his wife the way Clinton does. And if he can't run his own household right, then he can hardly run the country right.