(argumentum) Ad Hominem... is it or not?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Sarkus, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Following on from a thread raised by Quantum Quack to ask why people use the argumentum ad hominem, I thought it might be an idea to have a thread to look at actual examples within sciforums, and to assess - rationally and non-judgementally - whether the examples are Ad Hominems, or something else.

    The accusation of ad hominem unfortunately abounds, whether for good reason or not, and it may be that the accusation is itself being used as such an argument.

    What I propose is that, redacted or otherwise (to protect the innocent etc) real life examples are posted for discussion of whether they are ad hominems or not.
    Can I suggest that the example is put in quotes, and labelled numerically so that people can identify which is being referred to.
    That said, this thread my die a death faster than something that dies really quickly. If it does, so be it.

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    So, have at it...
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    As and when I get accused of it I will do, or when I see someone else being accused. I’ll leave the ongoing discussion in the other thread, and use this for further examples.
    If no one posts then the thread will die and so be it... i’m not previous about it (*sob*).

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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, first one:
    Example 1:
    Summary: an argument was presented, a response was given that was considered at the time to be an ad hominem. Link to relevant posts in the quote...
    In this case the initial response (post #331) looks to be simply an insult. There is perhaps an implication that it is because the person X has this character flaw that his point is wrong, but it seems more to be the case that the insult is a result of the point being considered to be flawed. There is no attempt to avoid or reject the point because of the perceived character flaw, rather the point is assessed, and the insult follows. The insult in this case is simply a poetic claim that the argument is wrong, not the reasoning for it being wrong.

    My conclusion: no ad hominem in post #331.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry. I see no link. And I'm not sure what thread this refers to (though I've a pretty darned good guess.)

    Are we referring to this?

    If so, I can't even see the post. She requested that I (and I quote) "fuck off", so I have obliged her.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  9. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

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    I think there's a difference between ad homs and blatant name calling, though.

    Here's a question...what would ''flaming'' be considered when we're talking about online debates? I've seen that word mentioned in the forum rules as a violation.

    The beauty of the internet is you can just simply stop replying if you feel that the argument has crossed over into nothing but ad homs and name calling aimed at you.
     
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    WHAT
    That's crazy talk.

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    Title text: What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!
     
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  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I'm a moderator on another forum, and to me it always comes down to this. "Your argument is idiotic" is not a personal attack; "you are an idiot" is. (With infinite variations on both of course.)
     
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  12. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

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    Lol
    Yea, that makes sense. Agree.
     
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Can we also draw a distinction between
    1."Your arguments are idiotic; therefore you must be an idiot." - conclusion drawn from evidence -
    which is on view for others to assess, including whatever refutations the name-caller may have offered. In this case the argument is not being evaded, so the ada is not certain.
    and
    2. "You are an idiot; therefore every argument you post must be idiotic." - conclusion drawn without examination of the evidence, in which case it is a deflection, and thus a confirmed ada.

    (Also, there is a significant difference between ad hominem argument and ad hominem attack: the terms are not interchangeable.)
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, yes, having people on ignore has that effect.

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    Yes, that is what is being referred to.
     
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, and that's what this thread can help identify between (if and when examples are posted for deliberation).
    If by this you mean that the ad hom argument is an ad hom attack that is used as an argument (or reason) to counter or avoid the person's points, then yes. And I'll try to be careful.

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  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    From what I understand, flaming is generally the posting of deliberately inflammatory remarks or posts in order to get a rise out of someone, or to turn up the emotional heat in the debate. That sort of thing.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "Flaming is the online act of posting insults, often laced with profanity or other offensive language on social networking sites. This term should not be confused with the term trolling, which is the act of someone going online, or in person, and causing discord."--- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_(Internet)
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, or they could be a troll who knows better, or they could be brilliant, just not in this one area. I agree that (for example) someone who is an anti-vaxxer, a creationist etc is giving at least the _appearance_ of being an idiot - but that's not always the case.
     
  19. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    No, that's not what I mean. I mean that some people exaggerate a minor lapse in procedure into a character-assassination*. Especially when the poster crying "ad hom attack!" is using victimhood as a substitute for logic.
    I don't know whether there is a name for that more specific than 'deflection'. In any case, hyperbole does tend to run a bit wild on internet forums, as it does in the culture at large.
    * Sorry, I don't have a concrete example to hand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    They could be anything. What difference does that make to
    "1."Your arguments are idiotic; therefore you must be an idiot." - conclusion drawn from evidence -"?
    The conclusion is valid from the evidence presented. If that conclusion is incorrect, the person addressed can correct it with additional information: e.g.
    "No, I am not an idiot. I make sound reasoned deductions in engineering; I merely hold idiotic views on equal marriage."
    Whereupon, I may revise my opinion of them... and stop expecting rational responses on the subject at hand.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The second one is meaningless, in practice - that is, one could define it in a way, but nobody uses it according to any defensible definition.
    You can try. Good luck.
    That's the direction of implication, a property of any argument, which almost no one who uses the term "ad hom" can keep straight - I have never seen that error recognized, let alone corrected, by anyone who used the term "ad homs" (the plural). Apparently that's a hole no one who falls in can dig out of.
     
  22. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, okay - straight up insults etc ...so name calling, by another name. That should be pretty easy to spot.
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    An insult doesn't have to be an actual name. It can be any adjective or description of a person in a pejorative sense. Most people know when they are being put down or disrespected by someone. That's flaming. The moderators here are the chief purveyors of this in this forum.
     
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