Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

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Post Number:#16  Postby Meleagar » January 17th, 2010, 7:30 pm

Scott,

No thanks, I think what you did is quite evident. I'm satisfied where the argument stands.
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Post Number:#17  Postby Anon007 » January 17th, 2010, 7:45 pm

It is the ad hominons that have **** the world up.

It's not that there are right and wrong ways of saying something, but **** right and wrong. there is no right and wrong.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#18  Postby Scott » May 8th, 2012, 6:54 pm

Here is a hilarious example of debate from the sitcom King of Queens:

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Re:

Post Number:#19  Postby GodlessDeity » May 8th, 2012, 7:09 pm

Anon007 wrote:It is the ad hominons that have **** the world up.

It's not that there are right and wrong ways of saying something, but **** right and wrong. there is no right and wrong.


I disagree. People who are too weak to handle a personal attack is where the world goes wrong. If people are passive-aggressive, there is nothing wrong with that. Using ad hominems doesn't make you aggressive. It is a subtle offense. No more - no less.

People need to stop complaining. Maybe then! Our world will **** get on its feet for once - in thousands of years of human fraility.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#20  Postby Scott » May 8th, 2012, 8:07 pm

The problem with ad hominem arguments in the context of philosophy and debate isn't simply the potential emotional offense it may cause on the allegedly weak victim but rather the simple fact that it it is logical fallacy and irrelevant to the discussion.

That's what I like about the video in my previous post. It's a blatant ad hominem argument, but is funny since the insulted character doesn't even feel truly offended because it is so absurd. It's not offensively illogical in that situation but rather hilariously illogical.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#21  Postby GodlessDeity » May 9th, 2012, 1:46 am

Scott wrote:The problem with ad hominem arguments in the context of philosophy and debate isn't simply the potential emotional offense it may cause on the allegedly weak victim but rather the simple fact that it it is logical fallacy and irrelevant to the discussion.

That's what I like about the video in my previous post. It's a blatant ad hominem argument, but is funny since the insulted character doesn't even feel truly offended because it is so absurd. It's not offensively illogical in that situation but rather hilariously illogical.


So for an example. When I called XDredge's soul nonsense laughable - how in the blooming **** is that irrelevant/irrational? It was laughable. I LAUGHED, because it was SO ridiculous. The idea, as an individual artifact, is what I scoffed at. Laughing at an idea of someone's does not have anything to do with the entirety of someone's character... They may take it as an insult to their entirety, but that doesn't mean a single flying **** now does it?

So you are telling me that it is irrational to turn up the heat while debating? Is that so? So by calling someone a hypocrite - even when they are indeed inundating the argument with hypocrisy left and right - it makes it irrational because of it being an ad hominem? That has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, Scott.

The only time ad hominems are wrong is when it has nothing to do with the debate. When it does, I personally think they are what show the seriousness and passion we have for what we believe in. As long as they show meaty refutations, I don't see anything wrong if they can apply some ad hominem show to their already adamant position as a debater.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#22  Postby Scott » May 9th, 2012, 10:44 am

I will comment only in private in regards to posts I have deleted in enforcement of the forum rules. I am simply discussing ad hominem arguments. If "turning up the heat" in a debate means name-calling, making off-topic asides or committing formal syllogistic ad hominem fallacies explicitly or by implication, then yes it is irrational and irrelevant in the context of any debate anywhere. (On these forums at least, it also happens to be against the official rules and would lead to post deletion.)

In regards to hypocrisy, please see the ad hominem tu quoque fallacy.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#23  Postby XDredg3 » May 9th, 2012, 8:22 pm

Mhm... All I want to say is this forum is good, best one I've seen so far probably out of like 15. I will follow the rules of this forum. Good work Scott.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#24  Postby Philobot » May 10th, 2012, 4:06 am

Scott wrote:The problem with ad hominem arguments in the context of philosophy and debate isn't simply the potential emotional offense it may cause on the allegedly weak victim but rather the simple fact that it it is logical fallacy and irrelevant to the discussion.


Scott: The ad hominems are not the problem. The problem is that you think Philosophy to be some sort of sport, with definite and absolute rules.

Don't get me wrong: This is absolutely FINE for me.

But still it is just YOUR opinion and not mine. It may be the opinion of others too who are attached to the idea of philosophy as a scientific and logical discipline but that still does not make it mine. I am sorry to say that ( see the subtle ad hominem?! ;) ), not all people think alike and will never do so. Someone disagrees ALWAYS. You will have to live with that. For example: OTHERS think of Philosophy as a discipline without any rules at all. You cannot think of a philosophy that is not logical, which is, one could argue, just a lack of imagination. While some feel dizzy without rules to support their thinking, others feel obstructed by them and need some place, some sort of safe haven, to have a rest from analytical people that understand the world to be built entirely upon rules.

So I can totally live with YOUR OPINION and would fight for your freedom to advertise it. But - what I will always reject is you telling me what to advertise on my part. Why? Because with that you are overstepping your boundaries and intrude in a region where my rules are paramount and not your rules.

You can fantasize this forum to be your personal idyllic world where everything is how you want it to be. Sure. It is still an illusionary world. You can just say: Fine! But I make the rules here, so go away if you plan to break them. Or you can just decide to ignore rule breakers (as you oftentimes do), this is up to you. But how long until the world gets terribly boring without people breaking your rules? Even the most rigorous logicians start to break the rules eventually when they get tired of them. Every rule is destined to break at some point. That is why you can call it a rule actually. So you might not know it but you need rule brakers.

You will say "there is no communication without rules" and that might be true in some funny way. But I say "there is no communication without the breaking of rules" because communication is not rules alone. Communication is rules/norules. Communication starts from "no rules" and this is where it ends too. In the middle there are rules.

Your video is funny because it is unreal i.e. it is exaggerated. The real world is different. It is your wishful thinking that the case is so easily decided as it is for example portrayed in this video. In that respect, I think that the ad hominem accusation is just another excuse for 'wishful thinkers' to ignore 'otherness' and not 'rule conforming' behaviour. Same as with the 'no logical argument' accusation or the 'off topic' accusation. Ignorance is bliss.

You will probably remove this post. But I must remind you that censorship has never worked out well in the end for the emperor. He still has no clothes on. So I will always openly revolt against censorship. You must 'kill' me in order to make me quiet (reminds me of Socrates). So hand me the cup of hemlock. I can face it, like I can face ad hominems.

In a nutshell: It is the old game of intimidation and submission. So then let us play it. I will never accept your rules! Now catch me!

But there is an alternative: Instead of playing the game, we can philosophize about it. Let us philosophize about gamerules. That is what philosophy is all about, in my humble opinion.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#25  Postby Spectrum » May 10th, 2012, 4:55 am

Philosophically, I think ad hominen is only applicable to formal/official debate or where there is an implied debate and logic discussion. However philosophy is not totally about logic and debate thus the ad hominen fallacy should not be applicable to all philosophical discussions. As such, example, when I state why the other party is not in or do not has a frame of mind to shift his/her perspective to see two cubes in Necker Cube demo, that should not be taken as ad hominen.

Philosophy encompasses every aspect of knowledge and wisdom. As such, from the philosophical perspective, there should be room to discuss the other party’s state of mind, re theory of mind. As such one should be able to comment on why the other party is holding a certain philosophical stance because of personal inclinations, etc. However, there should not be any put downs, insults, goading, verbal abuses and anything 'personal' (irrelevant to the essence of the issue).

Re wiki,
However, verbal abuse in the absence of an argument is neither ad hominem nor a fallacy.[5]


However, there should be rules regarding verbal abuses and other negative behaviors which should be stipulated in the term of use. Ultimately, it is up to the owner(s) of a discussion board to impose whatever rules and policies and exercise whatever reasonable discretion at any time they deemed fit and proper. It is up to the public to decide to join subject to all the stipulated conditions.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#26  Postby Philobot » May 10th, 2012, 5:38 am

Spectrum, What did you say with all that other than "ad hominen is applicable where it is applicable"? And that authority says who is in and who is out? Everybody knows that since King soundso the soundso, I conjecture, and nobody denies it.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#27  Postby Bermudj » February 24th, 2013, 4:59 pm

XDredg3 wrote:Mhm... All I want to say is this forum is good, best one I've seen so far probably out of like 15. I will follow the rules of this forum. Good work Scott.

I agree with you, of the various forums I have visited this I have found the best.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#28  Postby Gee » February 24th, 2013, 9:11 pm

Well, I like this forum too, and have enjoyed my time here, but I have no formal training in philosophy, so I'm bound to mess up sooner or later.

I wouldn't recognize an Ad Hominem if it asked me to dance. But I do understand anger, so my solution, if I become aggravated with someone, is simply wait a few days to cool off before responding. This would be much like taking a few days to consider a new idea or to look up some new information, so it shouldn't even be noticed.

The only reservations that I have are the same ones that I have with all philosophy forums, which is the inability to tell philosophy from science. Philosophy is the parent of both, religion and science, but science must be like a teenager, because it is all challenge of late. Probably because philosophy comes up with ideas, then passes them to science; then science attacks the ideas to prove their worth, then passes them to business. Business then makes a fortune, and philosophy is a thankless job. But science has gotten the idea that it is the authority on what is acceptable and what is not in philosophy, but science is wrong in this matter.

Philosophy deals with truth and unknowns; science deals with facts and knowns. This means that their methodology is very different. Any formal logic instructor will tell you that logic can not prove truth and has little connection to it. How is it possible for a person to cite a credible source to supplement a discussion about an unknown? And how can we avoid emotional issues if one of the major interests in philosophy is consciousness, which is very personal and directly related to religion and God? These are problems that science does not have to deal with, but if ignored by philosophy, then we are not doing philosophy--we are doing science.

I do not envy Scott his position. These are difficult questions, and it is not possible to simply throw out all of the rules and allow anything to be accepted as credible, allow emotional attacks, or allow nonsensical discussion. Since this is one of the better forums, he is doing pretty good with this mess.

Regarding Wiki, I like it. When I first joined a philosophy forum, I was told that the on-line SEP (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) was a credible source for information. So I went to the Table of Contents, looked up consciousness, and studied it for weeks. My conclusion was that the SEP did not have a clue as to what consciousness is; they had 30 or 40 clues--but not one. So from my perspective, the only difference between Wiki and the SEP, is that Wiki is more honest about it's credibility, as the SEP would never admit that it hasn't a clue. I like the IEP; it is easier to read, not so pretentious, and credible?

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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#29  Postby DonandVicki » February 25th, 2013, 12:39 am

:roll: All too often emotions are in the drivers seat when we are trying to think clearly and respond appropriately.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#30  Postby Philobot » February 25th, 2013, 7:13 am

Gee wrote:Well, I like this forum too, and have enjoyed my time here, but I have no formal training in philosophy, so I'm bound to mess up sooner or later.


Formal training in philosophy, and in the humanities in general, is overrated. One cannot be trained to have original thought, above all, not by an insitution, which is usually very fond of collective thought and groupthink.

Gee wrote:The only reservations that I have are the same ones that I have with all philosophy forums, which is the inability to tell philosophy from science.


To confuse philosophy with science is order of the day. Because, I think, a great many people quite obviously are incapable to differentiate between truth and knowledge. They cannot overcome their social conditioning, which made them believe that one is the other. Moreover, in my view, one does not 'choose' to be a philosopher. It is not a profession, it is a vocation presupposing talent.

But science has gotten the idea that it is the authority on what is acceptable and what is not in philosophy, but science is wrong in this matter.


As is well known, since the less-talented 'feel' that they are not up for the job, they usually seek validation in the group, and they seek to participate in the authority thus formed in order to bestow artificial weight upon their words. But if one is in need of authority for whatever he has to say, then maybe it is not worth saying at all.

Any formal logic instructor will tell you that logic can not prove truth and has little connection to it. How is it possible for a person to cite a credible source to supplement a discussion about an unknown? And how can we avoid emotional issues if one of the major interests in philosophy is consciousness, which is very personal and directly related to religion and God? These are problems that science does not have to deal with, but if ignored by philosophy, then we are not doing philosophy--we are doing science.


This is, I think, exactly why many talented men and women are discouraged to take up formal education at the university, and as a result, why authority is strenghtened and why academic philosophy in the western world is left in the hands of the inept and inadequate. This is not meant to be a call for revolution, as revolution is groupthink too. This is meant to be an encouragement so we may have the audacity to think for ourselves, and not to care about what others think of us.

he is doing pretty good with this mess.


I agree. He may not yet have entirely succumbed to the most cherished delusion of our age, namely that this mess called nature can be governed or even vanquished at all, given enough time, ressources and inventiveness.

Regarding Wiki, I like it.


The Wiki is anti-authority, that is why it is very much disliked in those circles.
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