Ad Hoc Rescue Fallacy

In this article, we will talk about Ad Hoc Rescue Fallacy. An argument is weak if it contains fallacies. By developing the ability to spot arguments in both your own and other people’s writing, you can improve your capacity to assess arguments. Fallacies should be understood in two different ways. First, they are widespread and capable of persuading listeners or readers, at least in casual situations.

What Is Ad Hoc Rescue Fallacy

Ad hoc is a Latin phrase that means “to this” literally. It alludes to a theory or approach created with just one objective in mind. Ad hoc fallacy, also known as “ad hoc rescue,” occurs when someone develops a defense or justification in an effort to support a claim while ignoring the evidence that refutes it. The ad hoc rescue cannot be a logical fallacy because it is an invalid argument. It is still considered one because a strong argument is not always substituted for it.

Although they are frequently difficult to spot, ad hoc arguments are rhetorical fallacies rather than logical ones. When contradictory evidence calls into question a person’s claim, they frequently come up with an argument to refute the evidence in an effort to uphold their original claim. Ad hoc claims do not take generalization into account. Rather, they are typically being created right now.

An example of an ad hoc fallacy is when a speaker offers a new defense of their initial belief or hypothesis in the wake of new, contradictory evidence. This defense is typically illogical or unreasonable. As a result, it’s an effort to uphold one’s current beliefs while defending one’s claim against potential denials. Furthermore, the explanation is hastily concocted at the time and is tailored to be used in a particular case. Rather than being the result of deliberate, fact-based reasoning.

Ad Hoc Rescue Fallacy Examples 

To better understand the ad hoc fallacy, consider the following examples:

Example 1

  • Student 1: “On the test, I ought to have received an A.”
  • Student 2: “You answered some of the questions in the wrong way.”
  • Student 1: “That’s true, but for that to be the case, the teacher must be terrible.”
  • Student 2: “She’s actually pretty nice.”
  • Student 1: “She ought to have considered how carefully I studied for the test. I ought to have received an A in the course.”

When the original justification is seriously (and insignificantly) refuted, Student 1 refuses to give up on her belief and instead presents a new one. Student 1, therefore, creates knowledge as they go.

Example 2

Another illustration would be:

  • Tom: “Since Jim, the new sales manager, was hired at the beginning of 2020, the sales revenue has been declining.” 
  • Carla: “Maybe there’s another explanation. I can tell Jim is a good manager because he has successfully increased sales for every business he has worked for in the past and has even received some awards.” 
  • Tom: “He is still a bad manager because he is too strict. The morale of people is damaged by this.”
  • Carla: “I don’t think he’s too strict.”
  • Tom: “He’s breathing on my neck and watching me all the time.”

Here, after Carla points out the flaw in his justification, Tom finds new evidence to back up his assertion that the manager was incompetent.

Example 3

  • Brenda: Jackson seems genuinely excited to ask me out.
  • Eden: He’s seen Jasmine for the last three months.
  • Brenda: Just from him observing her, I feel envious.
  • Eden: They’re engaged.
  • Brenda: I suppose that’s just his way of making sure I’m aware of it.

In addition to being a little deluded, Brenda also rejects the evidence that points to a truth that she is not yet ready to accept. As a result, she comes up with an impromptu defense to support her thesis.

Example 4

  • Karen: If you take four of these vitamin C tablets each day, you won’t catch a cold.
  • Jennifer: Last year, I gave it a try for a few months, but I still got sick.
  • Karen: Did you consistently take the pills?
  • Jennifer: Yes.
  • Karen: Well, I bet you bought some poor-quality pills.

Jennifer’s vitamin C pills must be proven to be either ineffective or faked by Karen. If Karen is unable to do this, her attempt to demonstrate her theory—is that vitamin C aids in the prevention of colds. This means that it will only serve as a dogmatic denial of the possibility that she might be mistaken.

Example 5

  • Anthony: The president of the United States is the worst president ever because unemployment has never been this high. 
  • Smith: In reality, both 1982 and the 1930s were much worse. Additionally, it’s possible that during his administration, the president won’t have much of an impact on the economy.
  • Anthony: Well, the president kicks animals when no one is looking.

After his initial claim is denied, Anthony makes his desperate claim about the president’s treatment of animals in private.

It is perfectly acceptable to suggest potential solutions when an argument only suggests a possible course of action, especially in a hypothetical scenario. For instance, “Life has no meaning without God.” If there is no God to impose meaning on us, perhaps we are truly free to find it on our own.

Attempting to defend a strongly held belief when it is in danger makes psychological sense. You are likely to describe how a new assumption will resolve a conflicting set of data if one is presented to you. If, however, there is only your fervent belief to support it as a compelling reason to accept this saving assumption, your rescue is an Ad Hoc Rescue. 

The Ending Note  

When someone uses ad hoc rescue to support their worldview in the face of evidence to the contrary, they are engaging in the ad hoc rescue fallacy. When someone is desperately clinging to a belief that is at odds with reality, this can happen. To deny reality, they, therefore, make up stories.

We hope you learned something new from this article on the “Ad Hoc Rescue Fallacy.”

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