What is the opposite of ad hominem. I mean when something is given more credence than it deserves because of who's saying it. "Appeal to authority" comes to mind but is not exactly what I am looking for.

Edit: Appeal to authority is not what I am looking for because the person making the statement is not the "authority" on the subject, for example Einstein making a statement about optimal seating arrangement in his office.

6 Answers 6


In business-speak one often hears that a message benefits from a "Halo-Effect" because the messenger has a good reputation for one reason or another.


Appeal to False Authority (or argumentum ad verecundiam) is a logical fallacy that means more or less exactly what you said: "something is given more credence than it deserves because of who's saying it." But then the real opposite of any logical fallacy would really be a correct argument, so in that sense @Vladtn is right.

Also, ad hominem does have another form, where an attempt is made to reinforce an opinion based on the positive image of the person who shares it. Practically all celebrity endorsements in advertising use this fallacy. When you see Einstein brushing his teeth with Crelm toothpaste, you want to buy Crelm, right?

  • 3
    Jinx. You owe me a coke.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:28
  • I know, right?
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:40

ad rem would be the opposite of ad hominem, as what is pertinent, to the point, regarding the topic of discussion rather than to the interlocutor.

Edit: if your question is about unjustified (celebrity) testimonial, I don't believe there is a simple expression for that (although there should be!), but to describe your example and if you don't mind leaning a bit on the formal side you could maybe go for non-authoritative endorsement. Other ideas?

  • @JeffSahol (cannot comment on your post) The question was a bit confusing, thanks for the link. Ad rem and ad hominem concerns the technique of argumentation as oriented towards the interlocutor. Philosophical argument should always be ad rem, while appeal to the feeling of the interlocutor, or criticising him/her, is ad hominem. I suppose false authority would qualify as ad hominem if the authority was someone dear to the interlocutor, e.g. 'even your mother thinks that...'
    – Vladtn
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:31
  • Are you looking for a word for a valid argument, or a fallacy?
    – JeffSahol
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 18:55
  • @JeffSahol Fallacy.
    – Surya
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 19:37
  • @Surya then it sounds like False Authority is the one you are looking for. Appeal to someone outside their area of expertise.
    – JeffSahol
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 19:40
  • "Argumentum ad justicium" was what Locke called it - "the using of proofs drawn from any of the foundations of knowledge or probability". Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 8:38

The argumentum ad hominem fallacy refers to a rhetorical move which discredits an argument by characterizing the person making it.

By “opposite” you seem to mean a rhetorical move which gives an argument more credence than is deserved, also by characterizing the person making it. That is the fallacy of appeal to authority or argumentum ad verecundiam.

But if by “opposite” you were to mean a move which discredits an argument in a valid manner instead of a fallacious manner, Vladtn has your term: argument to the point or argumentum ad rem.


I would argue that ad hominem is the term the original poster is seeking. This fallacy refers to judging an argument not based on its own merits, but on the perceived value of the speaker. Regardless of whether the fallacy occurs in the positive or negative direction, it is the same fallacy--judging the speaker instead of the argument.

  • This could be improved by some references.
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 19:24

Another but a moral formal word for the Halo-Effect is Asch Effect in which high-status individuals create a stronger likelihood of a subject agreeing with an obviously false conclusion.

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