Bulverism


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Bul·ver·ism

(bo͝ol′və-rĭz′əm, bŭl′-)
n.
The rejection of an argument on the basis of the character, motives, or identity of the one making it rather than on its logical soundness or the validity of its assumptions.

[Coined by C. S. Lewis in his essay "Bulverism" (1941), from Ezekiel Bulver, a character who realizes the ubiquity of this fallacy at the age of five, invented by Lewis to explain the origin of his coinage.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He dubbed the fallacy "Bulverism," after a fictional character named Ezekiel Bulver who would only explain why people are wrong without bothering to demonstrate that they are wrong.
Similarly, this Encyclopedia's two paragraphs on "Bulverism" say nothing of the possibility that its fictive inventor owes his name (Ezekiel Bulver) to Edward Bulwer-Lytton, probably with reference to the latter's 1846 attack on Tennyson as "School-Miss Alfred." Into the bargain, one can learn from Duriez where in Lewis this neologism is to be found, but not what it means; only by looking into Undeceptions (1971) will one discover that "Bulverism," in contrast to the usual sort of ad hominem argument, signifies the a priori blanket dismissal of some position on the grounds that its adherents have only a (generic) motive, not any reason, for holding it (e.g., that the belief in question is correlative to social class or gender).