Tu quoque

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This article is about the logical fallacy. For the historical quotation "Tu quoque, Brute, fili mi", see Et tu, Brute?. For the play by John Cooke, see Greene's Tu Quoque.
Ironic illustration showing Sutherland Highlander wearing an exaggerated feather bonnet observing "By Jove, what extraordinary headgear you women do wear!"

Tu quoque (/tˈkwkw/;[1] Latin for "you, too" or "you, also") or the appeal to hypocrisy is an informal logical fallacy that intends to discredit the validity of the opponent's logical argument by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion(s).

Tu quoque "argument" follows the pattern:

  1. Person A makes claim X.
  2. Person B asserts that A's actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
  3. Therefore X is false.[2]

An example would be

Bill: "Smoking is very unhealthy and leads to all sorts of problems. So take my advice and never start."
Bill: "I'm going to get a smoke. Want to join me Dave?"
Jill: "Well, I guess smoking can't be that bad. After all, Bill smokes."[2]

It is a fallacy because the moral character or past actions of the opponent are generally irrelevant to the logic of the argument.[3] It is often used as a red herring tactic and is a special case of the ad hominem fallacy, which is a category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of fact about the person presenting or supporting the claim or argument.[4] It is distinct from an argument condemning double standards, which argues against an opponent's moral standing to demand better conduct from others when guilty of similar misconduct themselves, without suggesting that the logic of their argument is compromised by that misconduct.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OED
  2. ^ a b "Fallacy: Ad Hominem Tu Quoque". Nizkor project. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Bluedorn, Nathaniel (2002). The Fallacy Detective. p. 54. ISBN 0-9745315-0-2. 
  4. ^ "Logical Fallacy: Tu Quoque". Fallacyfiles.org. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 

Further reading[edit]