Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tu Quoque

Today, I was reading numerous pleadings filed by opposing counsels in cases I am handling.
For a while I thought I would get cross-eyed in these readings.
But one pleading stood out.
The opposing counsel engaged in Tu Quoque.
Tu Quoque is one of many fallacious arguments engaged by lawyers.
I successfully asked the court to dismiss a case because the opposing party and counsel did not appear when it was their time to present their evidence.
Upon motion for reconsideration, the opposing counsel argued that I, too, asked for cancellation or postponements of hearings in the past.
This is a classic reliance of the Tu Quoque argument, a fallacy.
Translated, it means "you, too" or "you're another".
It is a diversionary tactic. It evades the issue at hand.
Tu quoque is a fallacious argument because it is really irrelevant whether I called for postponement of hearings in the past.
That I asked the court to postpone hearings in the past has no bearing on the issue at hand which is the failure of the opposing counsel to appear at the scheduled trial.
Tu quoque is also known as Red Herring. It also is part of that broader fallacy called argumentum ad hominem (argument against the person, instead of the issue).
Almost everyone engages in Tu Quoque arguments (even Osama Bin Laden).
It is a defense mechanism.
It is akin to the concept of "in pari delicto".
Here is a Tu quoque argument raised by Osama Bin Laden in an interview:

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