Tu quoque

Tu quoque

"Tu quoque" (IPA: IPA|/tu ˈkwoʊkwɛ/, Latin for "You, too" or "You, also") is a Latin term used to mean an accusation of hypocrisy. The argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. It is considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the party itself, rather than its positions. [ [http://www.fallacyfiles.org/tuquoque.html Logical Fallacy: Tu Quoque ] ]

Illegitimate use

In many cases tu quoque arguments are used in a logically fallacious way, to draw a conclusion which is not supported by the premises of the argument.

You-too version

This form of the argument is as follows::"A" makes criticism "P".:"A" is also guilty of "P".:Therefore, "P" is dismissed.

This is an instance of the two wrongs make a right fallacy.

Example::"He cannot accuse me of libel because he was just successfully sued for libel."

Inconsistency version

This form of the argument is as follows::"A" makes claim "P".:"A" has "also" made claims which are inconsistent with "P".:Therefore, "P" is false.

This is a logical fallacy because the conclusion that P is false does not follow from the premises; even if A has made past claims which are inconsistent with P, it does not necessarily prove that P is either true or false.

Example::"You say aircraft are able to fly because of the laws of physics, but this is false because twenty years ago you also said aircraft fly because of magic."

Legitimate uses

Not all uses of "tu quoque" arguments involve logical fallacy. They can be properly used to bring about awareness of inconsistency, to indirectly repeal a criticism by narrowing its scope or challenging its criteria, or to call into question the credibility of a source of knowledge.

You-too version

A legitimate use of the you-too version might be::"A" makes criticism "P".:"A" is also guilty of "P".:Therefore, the criticism is confusing because it does not reflect "A"'s "actual" values or beliefs.

Another legitimate use of this version asserts::"A" makes criticism of "P" for "Q".:"A" is also guilty of "Q".:Therefore, the criticism is confusing because it does not reflect A's beliefs.

Example::Version 1: "You say that taking a human life is wrong under all circumstances, but support killing in self-defense; you are either being inconsistent, or you believe that under some circumstances taking a human life is justified.":Version 2: "You claim to believe that taking a human life is always wrong, and you criticize John for it. Contradictory to this, you also support killing in self-defense. You are a hypocrite and are inconsistent in your criticisms."

Note the difference between this legitimate usage and the fallacious one: in the latter, we attempt to use "A"'s hypocrisy to "prove" that criticism "P" is false. This is illogical, since the truth value of a claim does not depend on the speaker. In the former, we are showing that "A" does not make a good critic, therefore arguing for greater skepticism toward his/her claims.

Inconsistency version

A legitimate use of the inconsistency version might be::"A" makes claim "P".:"A" has "also" made claims which are inconsistent with "P".:Therefore, "A" is an inconsistent source of information.:Inconsistent sources of information are untrustworthy.:Therefore, "A" is an untrustworthy source of information.

Example::"John Smith told the police he was at home alone on Friday night, but later said he was with friends at a bar; we can't take what he says about the crime at face value since he lied about his alibi."

See also

* Pot calling the kettle black

* Unclean hands


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • quoque — Aussi, même …   Le nouveau dictionnaire complet du jargon de l'argot

  • quoqué — Pris …   Le nouveau dictionnaire complet du jargon de l'argot

  • Tu quoque — Se denomina tu quoque (locución latina que significa ‘tú también’) al argumento que consiste en rechazar un razonamiento, o considerarlo falso, alegando la inconsistencia de quien lo propone. Es, por tanto, una variante de la falacia ad hominem,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Greene's Tu Quoque — Greene s Tu Quoque, also known as The City Gallant, is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Cooke. The play was a major popular success upon its premier, and became something of a legend in the theatre lore of the seventeenth… …   Wikipedia

  • Tu quoque mi fili — (« Toi aussi, mon fils ! ») est une locution latine célèbre attribuée à Jules César au moment de sa mort …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tu quoque — Als Tu quoque Argument (lateinisch für „auch Du“) wird der argumentative Versuch bezeichnet, eine gegnerische These durch einen Vergleich mit dem Verhalten des Gegners zurückzuweisen. Es kann als Variante des Argumentum ad hominem verstanden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BOMBYLIUS seu BOMBYX quoque — BOMBYLIUS, seu BOMBYX quoque Graece Βομβυλιὸς, e genere vesparum seu apum, ceram facere dicitur Plinio l. 11. c. 22. qui eam male confundit cum bombyce, quae ex etucarum genere est et bombycinum a se gignit. Bombyx enim, quae ceram facit, telam… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Tu quoque — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Tu quoque une locution latine en rhétorique. Tu quoque mi fili, une locution latine célèbre attribuée à Jules César. Catégorie : Homonymie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • CONFESSIONES Pontificum Romanotum pars quoque Canonici Juris — Cum enim folerent Pontifices, quando ad dignitatem hanc promovebantur, fidei professionem edere, ut nos docet, c. 8. Sancta octo. dist. 16. cuius inscriptio est, Item ex diurno libro Professio Pontificis; vide quoque infra Synodica Epistola:… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • PALAESTINUS quoque prius Strymon — fluv. Maceodniae dictus est, Plut …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”