Ad — Arguments (Ad Ignorantiam…)

Some argument schemes are designated by Latin labels, S. A/ab —; Ad —; Ex —. This entry lists the labels using the Latin preposition ad. In classical Latin, the preposition ad is constructed with the accusative and introduces a goal complement; the phrase “argument ad hominem” reads “argument addressing the person”.
According to Hamblin, the oldest scheme in this grouping is ad hominem, which appears in the Latin translations of Aristotle; this naming method was popularized by Locke ([1690]) and by Bentham ([1824]), and most of these terms seem to be nineteenth or twentieth century creations (Hamblin 1970, p. 41; p. 161-162).

1. A list of “ad + N” arguments

Latin name of the Argument


• Meaning of the Latin word(s)Latin
(When necessary a word-for-word translation)• (English equivalent(s))
• Reference to the corresponding entry/ies
(reductio) ad absurdum
(also: ab absurdo)
Lat. absurdus, “false, unpleasant, absurd”  — reduction to the absurd
— S. Absurd
ad amicitiam Lat. amicitia, “friendship” — appeal to friendship — S. Emotion
ad antiquitatem Lat. antiquitas, “antiquity, tradition” — appeal to antiquity, to tradition
— S. Authority
ad auditorem
(pl. ad auditores)
Lat. auditor, “hearer, audience” — S. Beliefs of the audience
ad baculum Lat. baculus, “stick” — S. Threat and promises
ad captandum vulgus Lat. captare, “try to seize … by insinuation, by guile”; vulgus “crowd, ordinary people” — playing to the gallery ; playing to the crowd —
S. Rhetorical argumentation; Emotion; Ad populum; Laughter and Seriousness
ad consequentiam Lat. consequentia, “following, consequence” — S. Consequence
ad crumenam Lat. crumena, “purse” — argument to the purse
— S. Emotion; Punishments and Rewards
 (reductio) ad falsum Lat. falsum, “false”  — reduction to a falsehood — S. Absurd
ad fidem Lat. fides, “faith” — S. Faith
ad fulmen Lat. fulmen, “thunderbolt” — argument from thunderbolt
S. Threat — Promises
ad hominem Lat. homo, “man, human being” — S. Ad hominem
ad ignorantiam Lat. ignorantia, “ignorance” — S. Ignorance
ad imaginationem Lat. imaginatio, “picture, vision” — appeal to imagination — S. Subjectivity 
ad impossibile
Lat. impossibile “impossible” — reduction to the impossible — S. Absurd
(deducendo, reductio) ad incommodum Lat. incommodum “unfortunate, disadvantageous” — reduction to the uncomfortable — S. Ad incommodum; Absurd
ad invidiam Lat. invidia, “hate, envy” — appeal to envy — S. Emotion
ad iudicium Lat. iudicium, “sentence, judgment, opinion” — arg. appealing to the judgment ;to common sense S. Matter
ad lapidem Lat. lapis, “stone; (symbol of stupidity, insensibility)” —  arg. by dismissal
S. Dismissal
ad Lazarum Lat. Lazarus, character of the Bible, paragon of the destitute — arg. ad Lazarum — S. Rich and Poor
ad litteram Lat. littera, “letter” — S. Strict Meaning
ad ludicrum Lat. ludicrum, “public game (theater, circus…)” — appeal to the gallery —
S. Emotion; Orator; Ad populum; Laughter and Seriousness
ad metum Lat. metus, “fear, apprehension” — appeal to fear —S. Threat — Promises
ad misericordiam Lat. misericordia, “compassion, pity” — appeal to pity — S. Emotion
ad modum Lat. modus “measure, just measure, moderation” — arg. of gradualism
— S. Proportion
ad naturam Lat. natura, “nature” — appeal to nature ; naturalistic fallacy
— S. Weight of circumstances
ad nauseam Lat. nausea, “nausea, seasickness” — proof by assertion — S. Repetition
ad novitatem Lat. novitas, “novelty, innovation; unexpected thing” — appeal to novelty —
S. Progress
ad numerum Lat. numerus, “number, great number” — arg. from number — S. Authority
ad odium Lat. odium, “hate” — appeal to hatred, to spite — S. Emotion
ad orationem Lat. oratio, “language, comments, speech, discourse” —  S. Matter
ad passionem
(pl. ad passiones)
Lat. passio, “passivity; passion, emotion” ; appeal to passion, to emotion
— S. Pathos ; Emotion
ad personam Lat. persona, “mask; role; person” — abusive ad hominem
— S. Personal Attack; Ad hominem
ad populum Lat. populus “people” — appeal to people, arg. from popularity
— S. Ad populum
ad quietem Lat. quies “rest; political neutrality; calm; peace”, tranquility” —  appeal for calm, conservatism, S. Calm
ad rem Lat. res, “thing, being, reality ; judicial matter, issue”  — arg. addressed to the thing, to the point, dealing with the matter at hand — S. Matter
ad reverentiam Lat. reverentia, “respectful fear; deference” — S. Respect
ad ridiculum Lat. ridiculus, “funny; ridicule” — appeal to ridicule, appeal to mockery —
S. Absurd; Laughter and seriousness
ad socordiam Lat. socordia, “stupidity; indolence” — appeal to weak-mindedness —
S. Subjectivity 
ad superbiam Lat. superbia, “pride” — appeal to pride; arg. of popular corruption
S. EmotionAd populum
ad superstitionem Lat. superstitio, “superstition”— S. Subjectivity 
ad temperantiam Lat. temperantia, “moderation, restraint” — S. Proportion
ad verecundiam Lat. verecundia, “respect, modesty, discretion ; fear of shame” — arg. from modesty; arg. from authorityS. Subjectivity ; Modesty; Authority
ad vertiginem Lat. vertigo, “rotation, dizziness” S. Vertigo

2. Characteristics of the “ad + N” family

2.1 A productive pattern

There are many more “ad +N” arguments than there are “a / ab + N” arguments. Only the “ad +N” construction is still productive; the pattern is popular and mocked (ad bananum argument).

2.2 Origin of the labels

Some of these names have been defined and used by Locke and Bentham, S. Collections (III).

Locke has defined the arguments:

ad hominem                      ad judicium
ad ignorantiam
                   ad verecundiam

Bentham has defined the arguments:

ad amicitiam
ad ignorantiam
ad imaginationem
ad invidiam
ad judicium
ad metum
ad odium
ad quietem
ad socordiam
ad superbiam
ad superstitionem
ad verecundiam

2.3 Semantic subsets of “ad + N” arguments

These arguments refer to very different strategies. Nonetheless, some groupings can be proposed according to their semantic content.

(i) Arguments bound to affects, emotions, often via positive interest (rewards) or negative results (threats):

ad amicitiam
ad captandum vulgus
ad invidiam
ad ludicrum
ad metum
(ad carcerem, ad baculum, ad fulmen, ad crumenam)
ad misericordiam
ad novitatem
ad numerum
ad passionem
ad odium
ad quietem
ad personam
ad populum
ad superbiam
ad verecundiam

(ii) Arguments involving a subjective system of beliefs, not universal, questionable:

ad consequentiam
ad fidem
ad hominem
ad ignorantiam
ad imaginationem
ad incommodum
ad socordiam
ad superstitionem
ad vertiginem

Categories (i) and (ii) list arguments often considered as misleading, insofar as they express the subjectivity of the speaker. In other words, they are related to the ethotic and pathemic components

(iii) Arguments dealing with the substance of the issue (contrasting with the subjective series (i) and (ii))

ad iudicium                      ad rem