Poisoning the well

Poisoning the well

Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well is a special case of argumentum ad hominem, and the term was first used with this sense by John Henry Newman in his work "Apologia Pro Vita Sua". [ [http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Logical%20Fallacies.htm Philosophical society.com - Logical Fallacies] ]

In general usage, poisoning the well is the provision of "any" information that may produce a biased result. For example, if a woman tells her friend, "I think I might buy this beautiful dress", then asks how it looks, she has "poisoned the well", as her previous comment could affect her friend's response.


A poisoned-well "argument" has the following form::1. Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A (the target) is presented by another. ("Before you listen to my opponent, may I remind you that he has been in jail."):2. Any claims person A then makes will be regarded as false, or taken less seriously.

ee also

* Ad hominem
* Appeal to ridicule
* Black propaganda
* Guilt by association
* Prolepsis


* [http://www.newmanreader.org/works/apologia65/preface.html Newman Reader - Apologia (1865) - Preface]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poisoning the Well (Stargate Atlantis) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Poisoning the Well Episodio de Stargate Atlantis Archivo:Poisoning the Well.jpg Título Envenando el Pozo Episodio nº Temporada 1 Episodio 7 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Well poisoning — For the logical fallacy, see poisoning the well. Well poisoning is the act of malicious manipulation of potable water resources in order to cause illness or death, or to deny an opponent access to fresh water resources. Historically it was one of …   Wikipedia

  • The Empress (Tarot card) — The Empress (III) is the third trump or Major Arcana card in traditional Tarot decks. It is used in Tarot card games as well as divination. Description and symbolism Arthur Edward Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot… …   Wikipedia

  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — North American box art Developer(s) Nintendo EAD …   Wikipedia

  • The Gordie Foundation — Founder(s) Mr. Michael Lanahan Mrs. Leslie Lanahan Type Health Education Founded 2004 Location 2715 Swiss Avenue Dallas, TX 75204 …   Wikipedia

  • The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter — one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes . The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893.This sto …   Wikipedia

  • The Midwich Cuckoos —   …   Wikipedia

  • THE MIDDLE AGES — …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • THE EVENTS — introduction European Jewry in the Early 1930s Germany in the Early 1930s the expansion of the reich …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • The Sopranos timeline — A timeline of events in The Sopranos , a television series on HBO.Pre Season One*1920s–1930s **Corrado John Junior , John Francis Johnny Boy and Ercoli Eckley Soprano are born to Corrado Soprano, Sr. **Robert Bobby Baccalieri, Sr. is born.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.