Tu quoque (//; 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:
- Person A makes claim X.
- Person B asserts that A's actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
- Therefore X is false.
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."
It is a fallacy because the moral character or past actions of the opponent are generally irrelevant to the logic of the argument. 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. 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.
- And you are lynching Negroes
- Clean hands
- Psychological projection
- The pot calling the kettle black
- Two wrongs make a right
- Unclean hands
- Victor's justice
- Agassi, Joseph (2008). "Rationality and the tu quoque argument". Inquiry 16 (1–4): 395–406. doi:10.1080/00201747308601691.
- van Eemeren, Frans H.; Houtlosser, Peter (2003). "More about Fallacies as Derailments of Strategic Maneuvering: The Case of Tu Quoque". University of Windsor.
- Govier, Trudy (1980). "Worries About Tu Quoque as a Fallacy". Informal Logic 3 (3): 2–4.
- Shapiro, Irving David (January 2011). "Fallacies of Logic: Argumentation Cons" (PDF). Etc 64 (1): 75–86.
- Marcus, Kenneth L. (2012). "Accusation in a Mirror". Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 43 (2): 357–93. SSRN 2020327.