Is there a logical fallacy in this situation? :

Person 1: This group is judgmental.
Person 2: Your saying the group is judgmental is judgmental. 

I am not sure how to explain what appears off in this scenario. What is it called when people attempt to discredit the premise of a statement by using the statement against you, as is happening to Person 1 in the above scenario?

  • 1
    The second statement is irrelevant to the first and is really no better than saying something like "it takes one to know one". I probably categorize it as a non-sequitur and/or ad hominem (if one presumes "judgmental" is a bad trait). Assuming the second statement is meant as a counter argument to the first, it does nothing to address the argument, only addressing the person putting the argument forth.
    – Uueerdo
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:29
  • To put it in a bit sillier way.... 1: "Your mama is ugly", 2: "You're ugly", 1: "That doesn't change how your mama looks."
    – Uueerdo
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:35
  • Would it still be non-sequitur if Person 1 is attempting to communicate that "this group being judgmental" is a negative characteristic? Person 1 is saying they don't like to see it exhibited in others, but is exhibiting it themselves.
    – haxtar
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:36
  • That can make Person 1 a hypocrite, but does nothing to negate their statement. Jeffrey Dahmer calling Ted Bundy a serial killer does not negate either being one. The fallacy probably is more ad hominem, since technically ad hominem does not require the argument against the person to actually be negative; and non-sequitur usually pertains to the argument being made (such as if person 1 implied the group being judgmental actually made them correct).
    – Uueerdo
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:38
  • 5
    Using your statement against you is what good debaters are supposed to do. Using your statements rather than emotions and sentiments. But "this group is judgmental" is not an argument but a judgment. "You saying the group is judgmental is judgmental" is another judgment. One or both may or may not be true, but they can not be mistakes in reasoning, a.k.a. fallacies, because there is no reasoning involved, only judgment calls. And both of them are likely irrelevant to the debated topic, as they are about how one feels about behavior of others, not about addressing their arguments.
    – Conifold
    Jan 30, 2020 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


There isn't a logical fallacy per se; that is, if you're looking only at what's said—but, if we think about the implication of such a statement, there is one. The implication (in italics) goes something like this:

Person 1: This group is judgmental.

Person 2: You saying the group is judgmental is judgmental. Therefore, your hypocrisy detracts from your credibility.

I'd judge this an example of tu quoque ad hominem.

(As a sidenote: If you're asking this because you've engaged in a similar conversation, and you feel something is wrong, but don't know what to call it, I think you're better off describing what's wrong with this exchange directly. Saying "Hah-hah! You've committed the logical fallacy of ad hominem!" Is very rarely beneficial to your cause, and, anecdotally, I've noticed that having a list of named logical fallacies handy doesn't actually make one any better at... logic. Sometimes, it even makes one worse.)

  • Could you not argue that accusing someone of commiting ad hominem is itself an example of ad hominem? In this instance, specifically.
    – Bjonnfesk
    Jan 31, 2020 at 6:57
  • @Bjonnfesk While the accusation could be used as an ad hominem against Person 2, it can more simply just falsify his statement, invalidating their implied conclusion that "your hipocrisy detracts from your credibility". Though I do agree that the names of logical fallacies are important. More effectively, P1 would probably try to point out why the statement is fallacious, i.e. because it doesn't have anything to do with the truth of P1's statement, or because it doesn't imply P1 is uncredible.
    – awe lotta
    Feb 2, 2020 at 23:02
  • Yes, that's why I said "in this instance, specifically" - I meant in the specific situation of having ad hominem committed against you, and attempting to "win" the argument by saying "Hah-hah! You've committed the logical fallacy of ad hominem!".
    – Bjonnfesk
    Feb 3, 2020 at 12:58

A statement that defeats itself is called "self-defeating". For instance, the claim "All statements that contain the letter e are false" is self-defeating; it contains the letter e, so it is claiming that itself is false.

Is there a logical fallacy in this situation?

What you quote are two claims. Claims cannot be fallacious. Only arguments can be fallacious.

There are implied arguments here. The implied argument of "This group is judgmental" is "Being judgmental is bad, this group is judgmental, therefore this group is bad". This is valid logic, but arguably not sound.

The reply "Your saying the group is judgmental is judgmental" is responding to the implied argument. The implied argument is "You are saying that being judgmental is bad, but your statement is judgmental, so by your logic your own statement is bad". This relies on the further implied premise that all evaluations are judgmental. The term "judgmental" is generally understood to mean more than just than that. Furthermore, a statement being "bad" to say doesn't mean it's wrong.

If those defects are fixed, if a reply does explicitly assert that the first statement is making an argument, if the first statement is in fact making that argument, and if that argument contradicts the statement, then that would be a valid argument.

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