Tu quoque (Latin for “you also”), or the appeal to hypocrisy, is a fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent’s argument by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion(s). That is, it is claimed that the argument is flawed by pointing out that the persona making the argument is not acting consistently with the claims of the argument.
The logically fallacious 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
Peter: “Bill is guilty of defrauding the government out of tax dollars.” Bill: “How can you say that when you yourself have 20 outstanding parking tickets?”
It is a fallacy because the moral character or 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 facts about the person presenting or supporting the claim or argument.
In the trial of Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie, the controversial lawyer Jacques Vergès tried to present what was defined as a Tu Quoque Defence—i.e., that during the Algerian War, French officers such as General Jacques Massu had committed war crimes similar to those with which Barbie was being charged, and therefore the French state had no moral right to try Barbie. This defense was rejected by the court, which convicted Barbie.
Walton, D. (1998). Ad hominem arguments. University of Alabama Press.
“Violations of moralnorms can be made ‘morally invisible’ even if all relevant facts are unobscured: This can be achieved by embedding these facts into a context that prevents eliciting widespread unease and indignation. One example is the structural violence associated with the implementation of neoliberal economical doctrine. While societal and humanitarian consequences of this violence have so far been mostly observed in so-called third-world countries, they also manifest themselves more and more often in western industrialized nations. Mass media play a pivotal role in making facts morally and cognitively visible: In addition to reporting simple facts, media typically also deliver the contextual frame necessary for interpreting the facts, thus shaping our political world view. The invisibility of some moral transgressions is thus part of our daily live and concerns us all.” (Mausfeld, 2015)
However, as soon as the causal reason for the fragmentation becomes available to us (i.e., when we become aware of the visual or ideological “mask”) we are able to use inferential deductivecognitive reasoning processes to identify (and understand) the underlying pattern – despite the fragmentation of information/knowledge (see Figure 2). Without this “causative information” which masks the underlying pattern the likelihood of successful pattern recognition is minute (note that both figures display the letter “R” in various orientations – the difference between them is that Figure 2 shows the mask whereas Figure 1 does not) .
Insight1 (cf. Köhler, 1925)2 into the mechanism which causes the occlusion and fragmentation thus allows us to understand the broader meaning of the percept (or the psychological narrative), viz., we are able to see “the bigger picture” in context. This contextual knowledge can be a visual mask or a historical pattern (as outlined below). The adumbrated perceptual analogy is thus generalisable across prima vista unrelated domains (i.e., it is domain non-specific).
The same idea can be applied to the social sphere. An understanding of the mechanisms which undergird “neoliberal psychological indoctrination” is crucial in order to understand the “bigger picture” – the “holistic gestalt” (Ash, 1998; Sharps & Wertheimer, 2000) of the social, political, economic, and academic environment we inhabit. Based on this overarching knowledge we can then “try our best” to take an appropriate and responsible course of action. However, we first have to perceive and acknowledge the problem. That is, a valid diagnosis is primary. Without this broader understanding we “lose sight of the wood for the trees” (cf. global vs. local perception/information processing), that is, we attend to seemingly unrelated semantic information fragments without an understanding of their mutual interrelations. Interestingly, emotions & affective states play a significant modulatory role in the underlying cognitive processes (e.g., Basso, Schefft, Ris, & Dember, 1996; Gasper & Clore, 2002; Huntsinger, Clore, & Bar-Anan, 2010). In other words, our emotional system is centrally involved in perception and reasoning. Therefore, the emotional system (i.e., limbic system) can be systematically manipulated in order to interfere with rational higher-order (prefrontal) cognitive processes which are necessary for logical inferential reasoning and problem-solving. Primordial fear (phylogenetically ancient amygdalae circuitry) is perhaps the most significant inhibitor of higher-order cognitive processes.
Gross, C. T., & Canteras, N. S.. (2012). The many paths to fear. Nature Reviews Neuroscience
“Fear is an emotion that has powerful effects on behaviour and physiology across animal species. it is accepted that the amygdala has a central role in processing fear. however, it is less widely appreciated that distinct amygdala outputs and downstream circuits are involved in different types of fear. data show that fear of painful stimuli, predators and aggressive members of the same species are processed in independent neural circuits that involve the amygdala and downstream hypothalamic and brainstem circuits. here, we discuss data supporting multiple fear pathways and the implications of this distributed system for understanding and treating fear.”
Povinelli, D. J., & Bering, J. M.. (2002). The mentality of apes revisited. Current Directions in Psychological Science
“Although early compara- tive psychology was seriously marred by claims of our spe- cies’ supremacy, the residual backlash against these archaic evolutionary views is still be- ing felt, even though our un- derstanding of evolutionary biology is now sufficiently ad- vanced to grapple with possi- ble cognitive specializations that our species does not share with closely related species. the overzealous efforts to dis- mantle arguments of human uniqueness have only served to show that most compara- tive psychologists working with apes have yet to set aside the antiquated evolutionary ‘lad- der.’ instead, they have only attempted to pull chimpan- zees up to the ladder’s highest imaginary rung–or perhaps, to pull humans down to an equally imaginary rung at the height of the apes. a true com- parative science of animal minds, however, will recog- nize the complex diversity of the animal kingdom, and will thus view homo sapiens as one more species with a unique set of adaptive skills crying out to be identified and understood.”
Ruiz, G., & Sánchez, N.. (2014). Wolfgang Köhler’s the mentality of apes and the animal psychology of his time. Spanish Journal of Psychology
in 1913, the anthropoid station for psychological and physiological research in chimpanzees and other apes was founded by the royal prussian academy of sciences (berlin) near la orotava, tenerife. eugene teuber, its first director, began his work at the station with several studies of anthropoid apes’ natural behavior, particularly chimpanzee body language. in late 1913, the psychologist wolfgang köhler, the second and final director of the station, arrived in tenerife. during his stay in the canary islands, köhler conducted a series of studies on intelligent behavior in chimpanzees that would become classics in the field of comparative psychology. those experiments were at the core of his book intelligenzprüfungen an menschenaffen ( the mentality of apes ), published in 1921. this paper analyzes köhler’s experiments and notions of intelligent behavior in chimpanzees, emphasizing his distinctly descriptive approach to these issues. it also makes an effort to elucidate some of the theoretical ideas underpinning köhler’s work. the ultimate goal of this paper is to assess the historical significance of köhler’s book within the context of the animal psychology of his time.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)
Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. Horace Liveright.
Bernays, E. L. (1936). Freedom of Propaganda. Vital Speeches of the Day, 2(24), 744–746.
L’Etang, J. (1999). The father of spin: Edward L. Bernays and the birth of public relations. Public Relations Review, 25(1), 123–124.
“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . [a]s a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power…. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach. … The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd.” (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV)
Lippmann, W. (1920). Liberty and the News. Museum.
Lippmann, W. (1970). The Phantom Public. Politics.
From 1930 onwards, Brecht became part of a wider complex of projects exploring the role of intellectuals (or “Tuis” as he called them) in a capitalist society. A Tui is an intellectual who sells his or her abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who uses them to support the dominant ideology of an oppressive society. ] The German modernist theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht invented the term and used it in a range of critical and creative projects, including the material that he developed in the mid-1930s for his so-called Tui-Novel—an unfinished satire on intellectuals in the German Empire and Weimar Republic—and his epic comedy from the early 1950s, Turandot or the Whitewashers’ Congress. The word is a neologism that results from the acronym of a word play on “intellectual” (“Tellekt-Ual-In”).
According to Clark (2006): “… the critique of intellectuals which Brecht developed… around the notion of ‘Tuismus’ engages a model of the public intellectual in which the self-image of the artist and thinker as a socially and politically engaged person corresponded to the expectations of the public.”
Clark, M. W. (2006). Hero or villain? Bertolt Brecht and the crisis surrounding June 1953. Journal of Contemporary History.
Hunt, T. C. N.-. (2004). Goodbye to Berlin: For 200 years, German thinkers have shaped British intellectual life – but their influence is fading fast. The Guardian.
“It is very useful to differentiate between rational and irrational authority. By irrational authority I mean authority exercised by fear and pressure on the basis of emotional submission. This is the authority of blind obedience, the authority you will find most clearly expressed in all totalitarian countries.
But there is another kind of authority, rational authority by which I mean any authority which is based on competence and knowledge, which permits criticism, which by its very nature tends to diminish, but which is not based on the emotional factors of submission and masochism, but on the realistic recognition of the competence of the person for a certain job.”
― 1958. The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man, in: Merrill-Palmer. Quarterly of Behavior and Development, Detroit, Vol. 5, p. 6.
“No expert certification is required to think about these questions, even if the ruling elites try their best to restrict discourse about them to a narrow group of “qualified experts”. As “citoyens”, well-informed and dutiful citizens trying to actively participate in forming our community, we possess what in the age of enlightenment came to be called “lumen naturale”: We are endowed with a natural reasoning faculty that allows us to engage in debates and decisions about matters which directly affect us. We can therefore adequately discuss the essential core of the ways in which grave violations of law and morality are hidden from our awareness without having some specialist education.”(Mausfeld, 2015)
Despite the clear words of these very influential and prominent personalities (i.e., Bernays and Lippmann) some social psychologists argue that “irrational conspiracy theories” are based on fallacious and “illusionary pattern perception” – but see article below.
By contrast, compare the following websites for more information on the actual origin of the “conspiracy theory meme”. According to the in-depth analyses of these scholars, governmental ‘think tanks’ (e.g., well-paid social psychologists) played a crucial role in the invention of the term “conspiracy theory” which is used to prima facie discredit those who challenge the mainstream narrative propagandized by the mass-media and other other social institutions (e.g., schools & universities). The social sciences & humanities have a long well-documented history of contributing to the systematic manipulation of public attitudes & opinions (the public relations industry and the social sciences/humanities are obviously deeply intertwined) (cf. weaponized anthropology). Today, the cognitive neurosciences joined the choir (cf. techniques of neuro-marketing). Psychology (and science in general) is a two-sided sword. It can be used to contribute to the unfoldment of human potential (the humanistic perspective which emphasises liberty and self-actualisation a la Maslow) or the same methods can be used to manipulate and control people (the neoliberal doctrine a la Bernays which focuses on power and submission to authority). It is self-evident on which side of the bipolar continuum (viz., humanism versus neoliberalism) humanity finds itself at the moment…
Impression management is a conscious or subconscious process in which people attempt to influence the perceptions of other people about a person, object or event. They do so by regulating and controlling information in social interaction. It was first conceptualized by Erving Goffman in 1959 in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and then was expanded upon in 1967. An example of impression management theory in play is in sports such as soccer. At an important game, a player would want to showcase themselves in the best light possible, because there are college recruiters watching. This person would have the flashiest pair of cleats and try and perform their best to show off their skills. Their main goal may be to impress the college recruiters in a way that maximizes their chances of being chosen for a college team rather than winning the game.
Impression management is usually used synonymously with self-presentation, in which a person tries to influence the perception of their image. The notion of impression management was first applied to face-to-face communication, but then was expanded to apply to computer-mediated communication. The concept of impression management is applicable to academic fields of study such as psychology and sociology as well as practical fields such as corporate communication and media.
Johnson-Cartee, K. S.. (2010). Impression management. In Political and Civic Leadership: A Reference Handbook
“Social networking sites like myspace, facebook, and studivz are popular means of communicating personality. recent theoretical and empirical considerations of homepages and web 2.0 platforms show that impression management is a major motive for actively participating in social networking sites. however, the factors that determine the specific form of self-presentation and the extent of self-disclosure on the internet have not been analyzed. in an exploratory study, we investigated the relationship between self-reported (offline) personality traits and (online) self-presentation in social networking profiles. a survey among 58 users of the german web 2.0 site, studivz.net, and a content analysis of the respondents’ profiles showed that self-efficacy with regard to impression management is strongly related to the number of virtual friends, the level of profile detail, and the style of the personal photo. the results also indicate a slight influence of extraversion, whereas there was no significant effect fo…”
Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M.. (1990). Impression Management: A Literature Review and Two-Component Model. Psychological Bulletin
“Impression management, the process by which people control the impressions others form of them, plays an important role in interpersonal behavior. this article presents a 2-component model within which the literature regarding impression management is reviewed. this model conceptualizes impression management as being composed of 2 discrete processes. the 1st involves impression motivation-the degree to which people are motivated to control how others see them. impression motivation is conceptualized as a function of 3 factors: the goal-relevance of the impressions one creates, the value of desired outcomes, and the discrepancy between current and desired images. the 2nd component involves impression construction. five factors appear to determine the kinds of impressions people try to construct: the self-concept, desired and undesired identity images, role constraints, target’s values, and current social image. the 2-component model provides coherence to the literature in the area, addresses controversial issues, and supplies a framework for future research regarding impression management.”
Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J.. (1988). Impression Management in Organizations. Journal of Management
“Evidence of the process through which organizational members cre- ate and maintain desired impressions is provided by this review of so- cial psychological and relevant management research on impression management. propositions regarding the stimuli and the cognitive, motivational, and affective processes related to impression manage- ment and audience responses are advanced. finally, directions for fu- ture research into impression management in organizational settings are suggested. impression”
Moro, E., & Vidailhet, M.. (2010). Management. Blue Books of Neurology
“JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. we use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. for more information about jstor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. american marketing association is collaborating with jstor to digitize, preserve and extend access to journal of marketing this content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on mon, 08 aug 2016 15:31:08 utc all use subject to about.jstor.org/terms this article develops empirically based guidelines to help managers select typefaces that affect strategically val-ued impressions. the authors discuss the potential trade-offs among the impressions created by typeface (e.g., pleasing, engaging, reassuring, prominent). the selection of typeface can be simplified with the use of six under-lying design dimensions: elaborate, harmony, natural, flourish, weight, and compressed. the visual aspects of a corporation’s marketing”
Bolino, M. C., Kacmar, M. K., Turnley, W. H., & Gilstrap, B. J.. (2008). A multi-level review of impression management motives and behaviors. Journal of Management
“This article selectively reviews studies of impression management (im) published since 1988 and identifies strengths, limitations, and future research directions in three key areas: research investigating the use of im at the individual level of analysis (e.g., performance appraisal); research that applies im theory, concepts, and thinking to better understand organizational phe- nomena (e.g., feedback seeking); and research investigating organizational-level im (e.g., how firms create legitimacy). following their review, the authors offer some overarching recommen- dations for future examinations of im in organizations, giving particular attention to the need for clear definitions and categories of im behaviors and the value of multi-level investigations.”
Wayne, S. J., & Liden, R. C.. (1995). EFFECTS ON IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT ON PERFORMANCE RATINGS: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY.. Academy of Management Journal
“We tested a model proposing that subordinates’ impression management behavior influences performance ratings through supervisors’ liking of and perceived similarity to subordinates. we measured impression management behavior, liking, and similarity six weeks after the establishment of supervisor-subordinate dyads and measured performance ratings after six months. results indicated support for the overall model and several specified relationships. additionally, impression management behavior had a significant, indirect impact on performance ratings. implications of the results for research on impression management and performance appraisal are discussed.”
Barich, H., & Kotler, P.. (1991). A Framework for Marketing Image Management. Sloan Management Review
“Managers know that the customer’s impression of an organization is important. and sometimes companies attempt to determine just what that impression is. they conduct ad hoc surveys and focus groups. but too often the data is insubstantial, or difficult to analyze, or even inaccurate. barich and kotler introduce the concept of ‘marketing image’ and describe a system of image management: designing a study, collecting data, analyzing image problems, modifying the image, and tracking responses to that image. they argue that only a systematic approach will yield useful and accurate information that a company can translate into action.”
Bolino, M. C.. (1999). Citizenship and impression management: Good soldiers or good actors?. Academy of Management Review
“Previous research on organizational citizenship behavior suggests that employees who engage in such behavior are ‘good soldiers,’ acting selflessly on behalf of their organizations. however, such behaviors also may be impression enhancing and self-serving. in this article i provide a framework showing how impression-management concerns may motivate citizenship behavior and address the conse-quences of citizenship in this context, as well as the interaction of impression-management motives with motives identified in previous research on citizenship. finally, i discuss the methodological issues associated with isolating self-serving from other-serving motivation and implications for future theory development.”
Grant, A. M., & Mayer, D. M.. (2009). Good Soldiers and Good Actors: Prosocial and Impression Management Motives as Interactive Predictors of Affiliative Citizenship Behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology
“Researchers have discovered inconsistent relationships between prosocial motives and citizenship behaviors. we draw on impression management theory to propose that impression management motives strengthen the association between prosocial motives and affiliative citizenship by encouraging employees to express citizenship in ways that both ‘do good’ and ‘look good.’ we report 2 studies that examine the interactions of prosocial and impression management motives as predictors of affiliative citizenship using multisource data from 2 different field samples. across the 2 studies, we find positive interactions between prosocial and impression management motives as predictors of affiliative citizenship behaviors directed toward other people (helping and courtesy) and the organization (initiative). study 2 also shows that only prosocial motives predict voice – a challenging citizenship behavior. our results suggest that employees who are both good soldiers and good actors are most likely to emerge as good citizens in promoting the status quo. [publication abstract]”
Paulhus, D. L.. (1984). Two-component models of socially desirable responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
“J. millham and l. i. jacobson’s (1978) 2-factor model of socially desirable responding based on denial and attribution components is reviewed and disputed. a 2nd model distinguishing self-deception and impression management components is reviewed and shown to be related to early factor-analytic work on desirability scales. two studies, with 511 undergraduates, were conducted to test the model. a factor analysis of commonly used desirability scales (e.g., lie scale of the mmpi, marlowe-crowne social desirability scale) revealed that the 2 major factors were best interpreted as self-deception and impression management. a 2nd study employed confirmatory factor analysis to show that the attribution/denial model does not fit the data as well as the self-deception/impression management model. a 3rd study, with 100 ss, compared scores on desirability scales under anonymous and public conditions. results show that those scales that had loaded highest on the impression management factor showed the greatest mean increase from anonymous to public conditions. it is recommended that impression management, but not self-deception, be controlled in self-reports of personality. (54 ref) (psycinfo database record (c) 2012 apa, all rights reserved)”
Bolino, M. C., & Turnley, W. H.. (2003). More than one way to make an impression: Exploring profiles of impression management. Journal of Management
“Individuals try to influence the way they are perceived by others in the inter-personal arena, a practice known as impression management. there is in social psychology a large literature devoted to impression management, or in communicative terms to the sender and the messages she sends regarding her own identity. ‘people attempt to control information for one or more salient audiences in ways that try to facilitate goal-achievement’ (136). they do so by structuring a certain account. these processes can also operate at a mass mediated level. in the following case we are interested less in the processes that produced the account than in the influence an account, in our case a mass-mediated one, has on the audience. a good quote for the aptness thesis: ‘effective communication requires that information be tailored or fitted to the audience’s knowledge and value systems, using terms, symbols, and evidence that will be readily understood and accepted without challenge’ (155).”
A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences towards a false conclusion. A red herring might be intentionally used, such as in mystery fiction or as part of rhetorical strategies (e.g., in politics), or it could be inadvertently used during argumentation.
The term was popularized in 1807 by English polemicist William Cobbett, who told a story of having used a kipper (a strong-smelling smoked fish) to divert hounds from chasing a hare.
“When I was a boy, we used, in order to draw oft’ the harriers from the trail of a hare that we had set down as our own private property, get to her haunt early in the morning, and drag a red-herring, tied to a string, four or five miles over hedges and ditches, across fields and through coppices, till we got to a point, whence we were pretty sure the hunters would not return to the spot where they had thrown off; and, though I would, by no means, be understood, as comparing the editors and proprietors of the London daily press to animals half so sagacious and so faithful as hounds, I cannot help thinking, that, in the case to which we are referring, they must have been misled, at first, by some political deceiver.”