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Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

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Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#1  PostMarch 12th, 2008, 11:38 pm

Philosophical Discussion: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks
by Scott Hughes

Philosophical discussions generally consist of productive debate in which two or more people attempt to rationally argue for different sides of a question. They each try to think up and explain a logical argument in support of their position while constructively trying to offer logical rebuttals of the other person's position. Though called arguments, the philosophers generally have a lot of respect for each other and enjoy having the discussion in a friendly tone. In fact, it becomes very difficult to have a worthwhile philosophical discussion without a lot of respectfulness and friendliness.

Unfortunately, sometimes one person may use an ad hominem argument. An ad hominem argument consists of replying to a person's argument by merely attacking the character of the person making the argument. An ad hominem argument is also called a personal attack or an irrelevant insult. For example, if Joe claims that the sky is blue, Bob would be making an ad hominem argument if he responded by saying, "No, it isn't because you are an ugly moron."

An ad hominem is a fallacy, and it is illogical. Worse yet, it may cause the discussion to break down into an unproductive name-calling contest.

You may have trouble distinguishing an ad hominem argument from a non-fallaciously offensive statement. A claim or argument may not be an ad hominem argument just because somebody feels insulted or offended by it. You can figure out whether a statement is an ad hominem or not by asking yourself if the statement is truly relevant to the discussion. If the statement is evidence of the person's position about the topic, then it may not be an ad hominem even if it could be offensive. Nonetheless, if the statement just attacks the other person in the discussion, then it is an ad hominem. Generally, name-calling of any kind is an ad hominem. Additionally, saying that the other person is ignorant, stupid, or such will also almost always be an ad hominem.

You can avoid using ad hominem arguments by trying to stay on-topic in any discussion. Additionally, try to speak as nicely, politely, and respectfully as possible. If you constantly try to remain as nice and polite as possible, you will probably not slip up and make an ad hominem. To that end, avoid discussing anything while angry. If you feel angry or emotional, make sure to take extra care to speak or write in as nicely and respectfully of a tone as possible. Focus on making points only about the main topic, and do not comment on the other person's character or abilities (unless you wish to give them an honest compliment).

If someone calls you names or insults you, do not respond by doing the same. It is no less fallacious for you to return a personal attack than it was for them to make one. I find it most effective to just ignore insults in a philosophical discussion. If you try to mention the other person's ad hominem and reply to it, you will often end up getting into an off-topic and personal discussion. If you feel the need to reply to an ad hominem, simply and politely tell the person that the ad hominem remark is irrelevant. Talking about the fact that an off-topic remark is off-topic will bring you further off-topic. Just let it go and focus on the topic.

Calling someone a hypocrite is almost always an ad hominem fallcy. In fact, it is specifically referred to as an ad hominem tu quoque. It is fallacious. For example, if Mark claims that smoking cigarettes is wrong, and Mary tries to rebut it by accusing Mark of smoking cigarettes, Mary has probably made an ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. The fact that Mark smokes cigarettes does not disprove the claim that smoking cigarettes is wrong.

Also, calling the person who makes an argument biased is almost always an ad hominem fallacy. It is specifically referred to as an ad hominem circumstantial argument. Pointing out that someone has a reason to want a conclusion to be true is not a valid rebuttal to their argument.

Most importantly, you want to avoid making irrelevant insults. Do not call names. If you do, you are committing a fallacy, and you have greatly hindered the ability for the discussion to remain productive. Remember, the point of philosophical discussion is to have productive and constructive discussions about philosophical topics; it is not to have name-calling contests and insult each others' personal qualities.

What do you think? How do you stop yourself from making ad hominem arguments and personal attacks?
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Bloefeld2002

Post Number:#2  PostMarch 13th, 2008, 3:28 pm

Hi Scott,

I agree, and I am also a horrible offender with this respect.

I don't use them as an argument, but rather to try to get across some emotion in a discussion. maybe these things are better :?

I think I usually use them when I get sucked into a discussion I am not all the interested in, or that I find inane.

Your post is a good one and a good reminder. I for one will try to clean up my act.
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Post Number:#3  PostMarch 13th, 2008, 5:29 pm

No worries, Bloefeld2002! We're all offenders. Nobody's perfect, and we can all stand to improve our discussion techniques.
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dave b

re

Post Number:#4  PostMarch 17th, 2008, 6:52 pm

You're right, Scott, this happens all the time when a topic gets heated, and to get heated all it takes is an ever so slight difference of opinion, and we personalize that immediately and from there, there is no quest for truth, just a quest for personal vindication. I think this is natural and has to be tamed.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#5  PostMarch 20th, 2008, 10:57 am

While ad hominem arguments are used in the way you described, I do not think, as you do that this type of argument is necessarily fallacious and illogical, but that in certain circumstances it may have an important role in an argument.
if Mark claims that smoking cigarettes is wrong, and Mary tries to rebut it by accusing Mark of smoking cigarettes, Mary has probably made an ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. The fact that Mark smokes cigarettes does not disprove the claim that smoking cigarettes is wrong.


Here, it would be relevant, valid and productive to the discussion to go into why Mark has this hypocritical position, noting his hypocrisy would bring it to the foreground for dissection. Although I agree with you that an ad hominem attack may not prove to be the whole picture here, it opens up other areas for exploration that may not have been considered if the ad hominem argument had not been used. For example, whether it is valid to hold a particular philosophical view on a subject but not carry through with it in real life situations. It would be interesting to discuss the question of the value of a particular philosopher's philosophy when that philosopher does not live the life that they prescribe. For instance: Schopenhauer!

Your former example of an ad hominem argument
if Joe claims that the sky is blue, Bob would be making an ad hominem argument if he responded by saying, "No, it isn't because you are an ugly moron."
seems to be an example of another badly used one, and so it does not really count as sufficient evidence against the use of ad hominem arguments altogether either. While we're on the topic of traditional or classical-type arguments named in Latin, let me make a reductio ad absurdum. Say two philosophers are discussing something which at first they have different views on, but then after discussion they come to the same conclusion and position. They then say that this particular position they've reached must be the right one, for they have come to it through logical argument. You may think that these two philosophers have been foolish to generalize so radically, however it does not necessarily follow that the particular method of argument that they used is a useless one, just that they may have utilized this method badly

Pointing out that someone has a reason to want a conclusion to be true is not a valid rebuttal to their argument.


I agree, however, you seem to be talking about prejudice, and this always needs to be taken into account in argument where it is present.
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Post Number:#6  PostMarch 20th, 2008, 7:15 pm

Scott wrote:...if Mark claims that smoking cigarettes is wrong, and Mary tries to rebut it by accusing Mark of smoking cigarettes, Mary has probably made an ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. The fact that Mark smokes cigarettes does not disprove the claim that smoking cigarettes is wrong.
MrK wrote:Here, it would be relevant, valid and productive to the discussion to go into why Mark has this hypocritical position, noting his hypocrisy would bring it to the foreground for dissection.

It's a fallacy to conclude the truth or falsehood of the proposition by whether or not Mark acts as though he believes it is true.

Two contradicting propositions cannot both be true, and pointing that out can be useful, but there is no need to to call the other person a hypocrite. Only if the person's consistency is part of the argument would it be relevant. (Questioning the consistency of a source of information would not be an ad hominem fallacy, for example.)

Calling someone one is arguing against a hypocrite in a philosophical discussion is almost always a fallacy (except when the discussion is about one of the people, which is rare, or one of the people is a source, which is also rare since people do not usually cite themselves as evidence). Here are the two generic formats of the ad hominem tu quoque fallacy, which are both fallacious:

    A makes criticism P.
    A is also guilty of P.
    Therefore, P is dismissed.

    A makes claim P.
    A has also made claims which are inconsistent with P.
    Therefore, P is false.
Both of those are fallacious. When someone calls the other person in an philosophical debate a hypocrite it is usually an instance of one of those two fallacies.

MrK wrote:I agree, however, you seem to be talking about prejudice, and this always needs to be taken into account in argument where it is present.

I don't know what you mean. There is no benefit to the logic of a rebuttal to point out that the original argument was made by a bias person. Outside of philosophical debates, pointing out the bias of an informational source can help reduce the credibility of that source's trustworthiness. But in philosophical arguments it is almost always irrelevant to point out bias in the other person because the point is to offer a rebuttal to their argument.

That's what an ad hominem is, and that is why it is fallacious. An ad hominem fallacy is claiming something about the person making an argument and holding it against the the person's argument. It is always a fallacy because the validity of the argument has nothing to do with the character of the person who says it.

When a source is used for information, it is not fallacious to question the source's credibility or expertise, and to do so is not an ad hominem argument. Nor is it an ad hominem if the discussion is about a certain person to make claims about that person.

Thanks,
Scott
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Post Number:#7  PostMarch 21st, 2008, 4:08 pm

Outside of philosophical debates, pointing out the bias of an informational source can help reduce the credibility of that source's trustworthiness. But in philosophical arguments it is almost always irrelevant to point out bias in the other person because the point is to offer a rebuttal to their argument.


The assumption you seem to making here is that philosophical debate is always has to be carried out using syllogistic logic. As it says in the Wiki article on ad hominem:

ad hominem arguments are rarely presented as formal syllogisms, and their assessment lies in the domain of informal logic and the theory of evidence. The theory of evidence depends to a large degree on assessments of the credibility of witnesses, including eyewitness evidence and expert witness evidence. Evidence that a purported eyewitness is unreliable, or has a motive for lying, or that a purported expert witness lacks the claimed expertise can play a major role in making judgements from evidence.


Surely to refute argumentum ad hominem as completely as you did, you must first show that the particular methods it relies on are of no value.

As wiki says..
Hence, while an ad hominem argument may make an assertion less compelling, by showing that the person making the assertion does not have the authority, knowledge or position they claim, or has made mistaken assertions on similar topics in the past, it cannot provide an infallible counterargument.


It's a fallacy to conclude the truth or falsehood of the proposition by whether or not Mark acts as though he believes it is true.


Perhaps, however, it does not follow that the claim that Mark's particular position on this matter is of less value than someone whose actions are not hypocritical, is worthless.
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Post Number:#8  PostMay 21st, 2008, 9:39 am

MrK wrote:The assumption you seem to making here is that philosophical debate is always has to be carried out using syllogistic logic. As it says in the Wiki article on ad hominem:

ad hominem arguments are rarely presented as formal syllogisms, and their assessment lies in the domain of informal logic and the theory of evidence. The theory of evidence depends to a large degree on assessments of the credibility of witnesses, including eyewitness evidence and expert witness evidence. Evidence that a purported eyewitness is unreliable, or has a motive for lying, or that a purported expert witness lacks the claimed expertise can play a major role in making judgements from evidence.


Surely to refute argumentum ad hominem as completely as you did, you must first show that the particular methods it relies on are of no value.

As wiki says..
Hence, while an ad hominem argument may make an assertion less compelling, by showing that the person making the assertion does not have the authority, knowledge or position they claim, or has made mistaken assertions on similar topics in the past, it cannot provide an infallible counterargument.


It's a fallacy to conclude the truth or falsehood of the proposition by whether or not Mark acts as though he believes it is true.


Perhaps, however, it does not follow that the claim that Mark's particular position on this matter is of less value than someone whose actions are not hypocritical, is worthless.


Your critique has a critical flaw that I need to point out. There are two types of logic, formal--which employs the syllogism and other structures of argument. In these arguments fallacies are structural and form-al and anything can be argued no matter how asinine the idea is.

What Scott is talking about is a form of informal logic or argumentation. In these arguments all types of fallacies come into play. Context is very important when identifying fallacies. The ad hominem fallacy can be a sound argument when it is true.
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Post Number:#9  PostMay 21st, 2008, 3:57 pm

To reinforce MrK and the Wiki quotes above:

Informal fallacies seem to me to be, at best, fuzzy guides to logic because of the role they often play as inductive and/or meta-arguments.

A central difficulty in the analysis of informal arguments similar to the ad hominem is the problem of formulating a criterion of relevance. Under what conditions is a conclusion irrelevant to its premises?

For example, if someone argues that Bob's argument is incorrect because Bob is an idiot, then that argument is plausible if, indeed, Bob is unintelligent.

It does not help to point out that this ad hominem is mistaken because unintelligent people can make good arguments just as well as intelligent persons can. The ability to argue well is, c.p. one condition of being intelligent.

One seldom noticed point in this regard is the problem arising when an ad hominem fallacy is not a personal attack, an insult, or a negative name-calling. For example, to argue that what someone states is correct because she is brilliant would be the same sort of logical proceeding because it involves an appeal to the person's character or circumstances.

Even the identification of this argument as an ad verecundiam fallacy would be a mistake because the quality of intelligence is c.p. relevant to an ability to argue well.

The open texture of language and the nature of inductive argument makes a precise identification of informal fallacies in many cases difficult. Sometimes it's best to see informal fallacies as a failure in deduction rather than a failure of logic.

For example, if a Nuclear Engineer who is a expert in the field of environmental safety argues in favor of the efficacy of nuclear reactors, do we discount what is said on the basis that he might be prejudiced, given his background, or do we endorse what he says because he seems to be an expert in the field, or do we ignore his background because we should assume that anyone can argue equally well about nuclear energy?

Again, I think sometimes it's best to see informal fallacies as a failure in deductive logic rather than a failure in (inductive) logic. Character and circumstance described in premises may be often probabilistically related (or causally) to the states of affairs described by statements.

Even so, I'm not claiming that there are no clear cases of ad hominem fallacies.
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Re: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks

Post Number:#10  PostMay 27th, 2008, 3:36 am

Scott wrote:What do you think? How do you stop yourself from making ad hominem arguments and personal attacks?

I have no 'beliefs' to defend. Therefore ad homs are not 'displayed' (symptomatic of a threatened 'belief').
I do not get into 'logico/rational' discussions with people on the subject of their (emotionally founded and fueled) 'beliefs'. If I do, I am prepared for the 'symptoms'; straw men, red herrings, ad homs, moving the goal-posts, denial, hands-over-the-ears-lalalala, perhaps even violence...
'Belief' and logical rational critical thought are diametric opposites.
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Post Number:#11  PostJanuary 17th, 2010, 10:14 am

I have noticed that a lot of people are mislabeling the use of sources or the attacking of the credibility of an alleged source as "ad hominem fallacies." Though we've already briefly address that in this thread, I want to stress it now.

These people are mistaking the use of authority or doubting authority of sources of alleged facts which is not fallacious with the use of using the character of one presenting a supposedly logical argument. Most importantly, a logical argument and a logical fallacy do not prove or disprove the truth of the conclusions per se; rather a logical argument merely shows the relationship of the potential truth of premises to the truth of the conclusions. Sources are used to provide testimony. The sourced information may act as a premise in an argument, but itself is not even part of a logical argument. Also, sources and testimony is often used when logic is not needed or used such as in an encyclopedia or a list of interesting facts and statistics. These people who are mislabeling things as ad hominem fallacies need to understand the difference between testimony and arguments. Whether or not an argument is logical or if its conclusions are true is irrelevant to the credibility of the any one person making the argument. In contrast, the believability of testimony from a source is highly dependent upon the credibility of the source. And it is definitely NOT a fallacy to point out the credibility or non-credibility of the source and decide the value of the testimony provided by the source based on that.

Even if one makes a false allegation that a source is not credible, that is still not a logical fallacy. It is an incorrect statement, but not a logical fallacy.

Granted, an irrelevant insult or compliment directed at a source and is used to incorrectly make conclusions about his credibility would be fallacious, such as, "Don't listen to the medical advice given to you by that accredited doctor because he is ugly." In that example, the fallacy isn't discussing the credibility of the one giving medical advice, but rather the fallacy is that his level of attractiveness is irrelevant.

***

For example, in a recent thread I doubted the credibility of the majority of so-called scientists in a certain field who were supposedly providing evidence of a supposed phenomenon that happens to be considered paranormal (i.e. lacking scientific evidence) by the vast majority of people especially the scientific community. I was accused of making an ad hominem fallacy. Even if I was incorrect about the so-called scientists not being credible scientists, even if I was making a lazy, ignorant broad stroke, it still clearly wouldn't be an ad hominem fallacy.
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Post Number:#12  PostJanuary 17th, 2010, 11:15 am

Scott wrote:***

For example, in a recent thread I doubted the credibility of the majority of so-called scientists in a certain field who were supposedly providing evidence of a supposed phenomenon that happens to be considered paranormal (i.e. lacking scientific evidence) by the vast majority of people especially the scientific community. I was accused of making an ad hominem fallacy. Even if I was incorrect about the so-called scientists not being credible scientists, even if I was making a lazy, ignorant broad stroke, it still clearly wouldn't be an ad hominem fallacy.


Incorrect. While you did not attack me personally, you personally attacked my proxy agents - the scientists and work I cited as evidence to support my overall argument - by slandering their reputation and work without offering any evidence whatsoever to back up your disparaging comments.

The argument in question began with a short summary of peer-reviewed, published scientific papers, with excerpts and commentary about the research in question by eminent scientists not as "authority", but rather as corroboration as to my interpretation of some of the work presented. Those papers had conclusions reached by the scientists involved, some of which I quoted here.

Your response was to gratuitously smear the reputations of "the vast majority" of "self-described" "pseudo-scientists" and their research, without isolating a single iota of fact about any particular scientists cited, their qualifications, pedigree, publishing history or methodology. IOW, you dismissed the argument their work represented (and thus the evidence my argument rested upon) by smearing their reputations and their research. That is an ad hominem attack on them, their work, and the conclusions they have reached (some of which I presented here.

When I use the research those scientists to make my case, they become proxy agents for my side of the argument; when you slander the reputation and work of the agents on my side of the argument (and by slander I mean ridicule and belittle without offering one shred of fact or information about any wrongdoing, fraud, or improper interpretation whatsoever), you are engaged in an ad hominem fallacy against my side of the argument.

The way to avoid this is to either make a specific case that those specific scientists or their work is not credible and why, or else assume it is credible and explain why, even if it is, it can be logical to assert or conclude that there is no afterlife.
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Post Number:#13  PostJanuary 17th, 2010, 2:13 pm

Hi Scott,


Great subject!
Fundamental subject!
:)

Because, as you say, the key to avoiding what is called "the ad hominem" aspect in any discussion or debate or argument between one or more people is to

Scott wrote:"generally have ***a lot of respect for each other*** and enjoy having the discussion in ***a friendly*** tone. In fact, it becomes very difficult to have a worthwhile philosophical discussion without ***a lot of respectfulness and friendliness.***"

asterisks by ape

then 2 things are immediately and automatically and self-evidently clear:

1. That the problem is DISRESPECT or HATE, since a friend LOVES AT ALL TIMES: Proverbs 17:17.
:idea:

2. That the problem is misnamed when it is called 'ad hominem.'
:idea:

A debate or discussion or argument is nothing if not AD hominem of itself: mano a mano: as in wrestling or boxing or golfing or a political race between 2 ADversaries or whatever.


So to then name the problem in terms of what has been already accepted is to misname it and is thus to guarantee no solution since the very accepted fact of the ad hominem is now used to deny the validity of ad hominem!
:idea:


Examples of this MISNOMERISM, which abound in a world where being hateful and disrespectful are the mis-accepted norm, are:

1.
Is to call HATRED of one race by another race RACISM rather than HATISM, and then have no desire nor possibility of changing the accepted race of anybody.
:idea:

2.
Is to call HATRED of Jews ANTI-SEMITISM rather than HATISM, and then have to condemn any one or more semites for having any debate or discussion or competition or chess-match in which one is pitted against the other for being anti-semitic!
:idea:

3.
Is to call the Bias of Respect the solution AND AT THE SAME TIME to say that the Bias of Disrespect is NOT the problem, as you do here below, while renaming it as 'ad hominem', which 'ad hominem' is a natural as applause when 2 hands are ad homineming or are in opposition to each other:
:idea:

Scott wrote:Also, calling the person who makes an argument *****biased***** is almost always an ad hominem fallacy.



It is the BIAS or the PREJUDICE of Disrespect which is the essential fallacy and is the ONLY cause AND ALWAYS THE CAUSE of lack of Respect in all ad hominem and pro hominem situations ---as in MALICE-AFORE-THOUGHT is ALWAYS the prejudical problem in all situations.


So based on what you wrote, the solution is clearly A LOT OF RESPECT and the problem is ANY DISRESPECT.

So you asked:

Scott wrote:What do you think? How do you stop yourself from making ad hominem arguments and personal attacks?


So that question shd really be:

How do you stop yourself from making DISRESPECTFUL OR HATEFUL arguments and DISRESPECTFUL attacks?


And actually, you already gave the right and only solution here using the right word:

Scott wrote:You can avoid using ad hominem arguments by trying ....to speak as nicely, politely, and *****respectfully***** as possible.

All asterisks by ape

Personally, my answer is in line with yours: :)

I stop myself from making DISRESPECTFUL or HATEFUL arguments and personal attacks of any kind by

Respecting myself and loving myself as all words and their opposites or AD hominems or ANTonyms or ADversaries or opponents or ANTagonists or enemies or CONTRAdictions or NON-allies or etc,

so that I auto respect and love all others as myself no matter who or what they are, whether known or unknown,

so that Love and Respect are my PREjudices or my BIASES or my PREjudgments or my A PRI-ori axioms or my PREdispositions or etc for myself and for all words and for all others at all times for all time,

and so that HATE and DISRESPECT are NOT EVER my BIASES nor PREjudices for myself nor for any words or persons nor places nor things at any time,

and so I will and can easily take whatever name I am explicitly called or described as or imlicitly called or described as in any ad hominem situation with the same Love and Respect for myself and the callers,

and commend the callers or namers for their honesty,

while, er, ah, with that Same Love and Respect reminding them that "IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE" just as Spell-Check works,
:) :idea:

and without even bringing up any thing about any ad-hominemism since to do so wd be to condemn myself for ad-homineming the ad-hominemer!
:) :idea:

and many other benefits too numerous to mention, except for this one:

At the same time, to always remind the caller/s that to hate me as any word means that they already hate and disrespect themsewlves as those words and so to encourage them to love and respect themselves as all words and their enemy-opposites,

thus educating and informing all the callers and all readers of HOW to love and respect themselves and so to love and respect me as a big fat WANTED bonus since I am already doing so for myself as NEEDED--which is at all times.
:idea: :)


So to give a few examples in one example by using the words you used:

I love and respect myself as

A friend and as an ad-enemy, as a lover and as a hater so I can love and respect all haters and all ADversarienemies as myself and teach them to hate the right thing: the hating of any word.

I love and respect myself as handsome/pretty and as ugly, as sophon and moron so I auto love and r all others as such, and auto-educate all others how to do so too for themselves.

BONUS:

Now Scott, you can easily substitute the words HATE and DISRESPECT and LOVE and HATE as necessary to render your essay totally consistent!
:) :idea:

For example, notice how this:

Scott wrote:Philosophical Discussion: Ad Hominem Arguments and Personal Attacks
by Scott Hughes

Philosophical discussions generally consist of productive debate in which two or more people attempt to rationally argue for different sides of a question. They each try to think up and explain a logical argument in support of their position while constructively trying to offer logical rebuttals of the other person's position. Though called arguments, the philosophers generally have *****a lot of respect for each other***** and enjoy having the discussion *****in a friendly tone.***** In fact, it becomes very difficult to have a worthwhile philosophical discussion *****without a lot of respectfulness and friendliness.*****

asterisks by ape

perfectly flows into this like this:


Unfortunately, sometimes one person may use A LOT OF DISRESPECT and HATRED IN THEIR argument. A DISRESPECTFUL or HATEFUL argument consists of replying to a person's argument by merely attacking WITH DISRESPECT or HATE the character of the person making the argument. A DISRESPECTFUL or HATEFUL argument is also called a personal DISRESPECTFUL or HATEFUL attack or an DISRESPECTFUL OR HATEFUL insult. For example, if Joe claims that the sky is blue, Bob would be making a DISRESPECTFUL OR HATEFUL argument if he responded by saying, "No, it isn't because you are an ugly moron" IN DISRESPECT or IN HATE OF HIMSELF and OTHERS AS UGLY and AS A MORON.

OF COURSE IN LOVE AND IN RESPECT OF UGLY MORONS, HE WD NOT EVEN MENTION THIS FACT SINCE HE WD ALREADY KNOW THAT IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE,

and plus HE WD HAVE ALREADY REALIZED THAT HE ALSO BELIEVED THAT THE FIRST THING HE AS A WISE MAN KNEW WAS THAT HE HIMSELF WAS A MORON AND UGLY!


DISRESPECT OR HATRED is a fallacy, and it is illogical SINCE HATE HATES ITSELF and DISRESPECT DISRESPECTS ITSELF. Worse yet, it WILL cause the discussion to RE-break down into an unproductive name-calling IN A HATE AND DISRESPECT contest ONLY WHEN AND ONLY WHERE ANY CALLEE HAS THE SAME DISRESPECTFUL AND HATEFUL ATTITUDE TOWARDS HIMSELF SO THAT WE NOW HAVE 2 PROBLEMS.

This breakdown will not and can not happen when and where ONE party to the discussion or argument loves and respect himself as all words and so as all possible names.


So please carry on smartly, Scott! :)

And again, thanks for all you are!
:)

NB how this also helps you to make sense of what MrK said to you about PREJUDICE here:

MrK wrote:I agree, however, you seem to be talking about *****prejudice,***** and this *****always***** needs to be taken into account in argument where it is present.

asterisks by ape

and what Meleagar is saying to you--since he is simply and sincerely just using your very own words about literal and thus misnamed ad hominemism against you.
:idea:


Of course, this will help Mel too see how IF, he too disrespects or hates himself as a defamer or smearer or any word,

he too has the same biased or prejudicial attitude against you when he corrects you for prejudicially defaming his sources--with or without evidence really does not matter-- that is causing the further exacerbation of the original bad-enough problem of the Bias or Prejudice of Hate and Disrespect for self as any words in any of what is and has been an eminently normal and essentially natural ad hominem argument or discussion or philosophical debate between you two or anyone else.

Ciao ciao.
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Post Number:#14  PostJanuary 17th, 2010, 6:12 pm

Firstly, let's make it clear that if the personal attack or compliment made in an ad hominem fallacy is true or false is irrelevant. It's fallacious whether it's true or not. Similarly, if it's not an instance of the ad hominem fallacy; it's not an instance of it regardless of whether the attack (or compliment) is true or false.

Also, let's remember that a personal attack is only am ad hominem fallacy if it's used to undermine an argument (not testimony or information from a source) by attacking the speaker of an argument because the speaker's credibility or character in general is irrelevant to whether the argument is logical or not. It is NOT an ad hominem fallacy to attack the credibility of a source of information. (Standalone insults and standalone personal attacks are also not instances of an ad hominem fallacy--though they are against the forum rules if they are made about another member or are off-topic.)

***

Meleagar wrote:While you did not attack me personally, you personally attacked my proxy agents - the scientists and work I cited as evidence to support my overall argument - by slandering their reputation and work without offering any evidence whatsoever to back up your disparaging comments.

Calling your sources proxy agents doesn't change anything. Though I didn't yet specifically attack the credibility of the specific people you cited individually (for reasons explained in that thread), if I had that still would not have been an ad hominem fallacy. I admit that I did attack the credibility of the vast majority of people claiming to be experts or scientists in the field and claiming to provide evidence or otherwise be a source in support of what you were arguing for. Again, that is not an ad hominem fallacy.

Meleagar wrote:When I use the research those scientists to make my case, they become proxy agents for my side of the argument; when you slander the reputation and work of the agents on my side of the argument (and by slander I mean ridicule and belittle without offering one shred of fact or information about any wrongdoing, fraud, or improper interpretation whatsoever), you are engaged in an ad hominem fallacy against my side of the argument.

No, that is incorrect. As explained above and in several posts before this, it is not an ad hominem fallacy to attack the credibility of the sources of information you cited.[/quote]

***

Anyway, Meleagar, if you still think I made an ad hominem fallacy, please provide a direct quote of the sentence(s) in which you claim I attacked anything but the credibility of sources or citations. Then, if it actually exists, we can see if it is an instance of an ad hominem fallacy by identifying both the premise about someone's character and the illogical conclusion--for without both of those elements it is not an ad hominem fallacy.

Thanks!
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Post Number:#15  PostJanuary 17th, 2010, 6:44 pm

Jeez. That was quite a long ... whatever you'd call it.

Just because you give something a nice word, in this case, an old definition, doesn't make it more valid; it doesn't make it mean more than what it is.

I have books here too where I could easily point out what makes a good debate and what doesn't. The truth is, people don't talk like that, nor should they.

If someone is using a way of rhethoric to attack you or to get you off the subject, that's the only thing you need to realize. Either you fall for it or you don't; and I'm sure many do fall for it because it's the only way to either get their point across or change another's viewpoint. But to bring up the correct word for it ... well, that's just another way to fight. Words shouldn't be used in that way if you want to move forward.
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