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History of Philosophy Book Club Message Board › tu quoque ("you too") fallacy

tu quoque ("you too") fallacy

A former member
Post #: 47
Nietzsche tell us that a person is, to a large degree, intimately tied to the philosophy they espouse. In other words, we can often see a relationship between a person's philosophy and who they are as a person (in terms of their actions). In light of this idea, I thought this fallacy was appropriate.

tu quoque ("you too") fallacy -- The fallacy of assuming an argument is specious because it is either inconsistent with the person's actions or inconsistent with previous claims/arguments. A person may "preach" about something and act in a very different manner, but this fact has no bearing on the specific argument he is advancing at any time. Inconsistency, moreover, may raise issues of hypocrisy or double standards, but it does not bear upon the argument at hand. Example: "Smith: If someone hits you, you should turn the other cheek. Violence only begets violence, and violence in and of itself is wrong. Jones: That's a joke. You used to hit people when they picked a fight with you." (Smith may not have practiced what he now preaches, but two of his premises -- that violence only begets violence, and that violence is wrong -- need to be carefully examined.)

user 6899431
Group Organizer
Silver Spring, MD
Post #: 96
When I was a child, tu quoque was a favorite rhetorical tool often heard in the school yard. Johnny would say to Tim: "You eat like a pig and have bad breath!" Tim would respond: "I know you are but what am I?" Orthodox practitioners would invariably stick out their tongues to consummate the ritual.
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