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Accusation of Hate

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This fallacy is committed when it is inferred that a claim must be true because someone who disbelieves the claim is accused of hating the person who made the claim. This fallacy has this form:

 

Premise 1: Person A rejects Person B’s claim C.

Premise 2: Person A is accused of hating B.

Conclusion: Claim C is true.

 

That this is bad reasoning can be shown by the following example:

 

Premise 1: Dave rejects Adolph’s claim that 2+2=7.

Premise 2: Dave hates Adolph.

Conclusion: So, 2+2=7.

 

While hating someone would be a biasing factor, this does not disprove the (alleged) hater’s claim. That said, it is reasonable to consider a person’s biases when assessing their credibility. If person A does hate person B, then this might bias them against B, causing them to unreasonably reject B’s claim (perhaps due to an Ad Hominem fallacy). But even if a person is biased, it does not follow that they must be wrong. To make that inference would be a case of an Ad Hominem. While the fallacy can correctly be seen as a type of Ad Hominem, it is used often enough to warrant its own entry.

This fallacy can have great psychological force.  If someone believes another person hates someone they like, they will tend to dislike (perhaps even hate) that person. This dislike (or hate) can influence them enough that they can fall victim to this fallacy. The fallacy is often intentionally used in politics to get the audience to believe untrue claims and is, ironically, often fueled by the hate the audience feels. In such cases, they are believing a claim because they hate the person rejecting the claim because they think that person hates someone they like.

 

 

Defense: The main defense against this fallacy is to remember that just because someone (allegedly) hates someone else, it does not follow that they are wrong when they reject a claim made by the target of their (alleged) hate. Because hate is a powerful emotion, this can be a difficult fallacy to defend against.

 

Example#1

Television Host: “The left has been critical of the president’s claim that the latest pandemic can be stopped by playing loud music to destroy the virus. But we need to remember that the left hates the president and will reject anything he says. I, for one, will be cranking my music up.”

 

Example #2

Television Host: “The right has been critical of the president’s claim that climate change can be fixed by banning hamburgers. But we need to remember that the right hates the president and will reject anything he says. I, for one, will not be eating hamburgers. I was already not doing that, but if I had been, I would stop now.”

 

Example #3

Sam: “The oil companies claim that they are not contributing significantly to climate change.”

Ted: “Well, the climate scientists say otherwise.”

Sam: “That is because they hate capitalism in general and oil companies in particular.”

Ted: “So they are wrong?”

Sam: “Of course.”

 

Example #4

Sam: “So, I heard this YouTuber claim that these supposedly woke companies are just in it for the money.”

Ted: “Well, this other YouTuber says that is not true.”

Sam: “That is because they are anti-woke and hate anyone who is woke.”

Ted: “So they are wrong?”

Sam: “Of course.”

Originally appeared on A Philosopher’s Blog Read More

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