What logical fallacy do you think is the most commonly misunderstood?

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GreySeal9

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#1 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

I'd go with ad hominem. Alot of people seem to think that any insult during (or not during) an argument is an ad hominem when an argument can have insults out the ass and still contain no ad hominems so long as the insults are not an attempt to discredit/sweep the other person's argument under the rug.

I mean, if I give a detailed argument composed of facts and logic and then at the end I say, "BTW, you're a prick that can't debate worth ****," some people think that's an ad hominem even tho I just laid down a killer argument.

What do you guys think is the most misunderstood fallacy?

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coolbeans90

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#2 coolbeans90
Member since 2009 • 21305 Posts

Ad hominem, easily.

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someotherguy654

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#3 someotherguy654
Member since 2004 • 15122 Posts
Well you're wrong. Ad Hominem is not misunderstood. and it's because you're a jerk.
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Johnny_Rock

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#4 Johnny_Rock
Member since 2002 • 40314 Posts

Well you're wrong. Ad Hominem is not misunderstood. and it's because you're a jerk.someotherguy654

Apropo.

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Jazz_Fan

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#5 Jazz_Fan
Member since 2008 • 29516 Posts
Straw man. Wait, that's only alexside.
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scorch-62

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#6 scorch-62
Member since 2006 • 29763 Posts
[QUOTE="Jazz_Fan"]Straw man. Wait, that's only alexside.

Came here just to say this.
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Frattracide

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#7 Frattracide
Member since 2005 • 5395 Posts

You can also commit an Ad Hominem without directly insulting someone, people don't seem to understand that.

It gets my vote for most misunderstood.

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LJS9502_basic

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#8 LJS9502_basic
Member since 2003 • 178864 Posts
Ad hominem......An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. From reading this thread....yes...it's misunderstood.
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GreySeal9

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#9 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

Ad hominem......An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. From reading this thread....yes...it's misunderstood.LJS9502_basic

Where's the misunderstanding in this thread? Which posts and why?

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GreySeal9

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#10 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

You can also commit an Ad Hominem without directly insulting someone, people don't seem to understand that.

It gets my vote for most misunderstood.

Frattracide

Yeah, you don't have to directly insult, but you do have to make it personal somehow.

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topsemag55

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#11 topsemag55
Member since 2007 • 19063 Posts
Wut? No poll? I am disappoint. I vote for ad hominem.
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GreySeal9

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#12 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

Wut? No poll? I am disappoint. I vote for ad hominem.topsemag55

I'm dissapointed too, but I used up my poll for the day in the patriotism thread. :P

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topsemag55

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#13 topsemag55
Member since 2007 • 19063 Posts

[QUOTE="topsemag55"]Wut? No poll? I am disappoint. I vote for ad hominem.GreySeal9

I'm dissapointed too, but I used up my poll for the day in the patriotism thread. :P

Oh man, should have saved the poll for this one, it would have been interesting to see the results.
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GreySeal9

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#14 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

[QUOTE="topsemag55"]Wut? No poll? I am disappoint. I vote for ad hominem.topsemag55

I'm dissapointed too, but I used up my poll for the day in the patriotism thread. :P

Oh man, should have saved the poll for this one, it would have been interesting to see the results.

I guess you could tally up the responses by hand. :P

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GreySeal9

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#15 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"]Ad hominem......An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. From reading this thread....yes...it's misunderstood.GreySeal9

Where's the misunderstanding in this thread? Which posts and why?

Also, I'd like to know just how anybody's statements (besides the obvious sarcasm) in this thread conflicts with that wikipedia definition in your post.

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deactivated-6127ced9bcba0

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#16 deactivated-6127ced9bcba0
Member since 2006 • 31700 Posts

Does it seem like I'm jumping on the bandwagon when I agree with everybody else?

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GreySeal9

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#17 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

Does it seem like I'm jumping on the bandwagon when I agree with everybody else?

airshocker

Atleast you won't be a hipster. :cool:

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deactivated-6127ced9bcba0

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#18 deactivated-6127ced9bcba0
Member since 2006 • 31700 Posts

Atleast you won't be a hipster. :cool:

GreySeal9

It's impossible for me to be a hipster. I'd have to be a socialist for that. At least according to that OWS vs tea party comparison. :D

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GreySeal9

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#19 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

Atleast you won't be a hipster. :cool:

airshocker

It's impossible for me to be a hipster. I'd have to be a socialist for that. At least according to that OWS vs tea party comparison. :D

Oh yeah, I remember that chart. :lol: Pretty funny, if simplistic, stuff.

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GreySeal9

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#20 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

Appeal to authority also seems to be misunderstood alot in that some people think that it means that nobody can ever cite authorities. Still, it is not as misunderstood as ad hominem.

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Communist_Soul

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#21 Communist_Soul
Member since 2009 • 3080 Posts

When people disagree with me.

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Author_Jerry

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#22 Author_Jerry
Member since 2006 • 568 Posts
What about Begging the Question (i.e., petitio principii)? People often misuse the term without knowing it's supposed to be a logical fallacy, believing it's a phrase that means "to ignore the problem" or "to raise another question," when it really means "to assume in a premise what is in as much need of proof as the conclusion."
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surrealnumber5

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#23 surrealnumber5
Member since 2008 • 23044 Posts

Ad hominem, easily.

coolbeans90

strawman, see systemwars. cartesian circle is one of my favorites because people rarely point them out

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HolyRomanEmpero

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#24 HolyRomanEmpero
Member since 2011 • 31 Posts
What the **** is ad hominem?
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GreySeal9

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#26 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="LJS9502_basic"]Ad hominem......An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. From reading this thread....yes...it's misunderstood.MichBelle
I would unfortunately have to agree.

Since LJ is not willing to do it, can you tell me where the misunderstanding in this thread is? Because I don't see any misunderstading in this thread or anything that contradicts that Wikipedia definition.

Also, that post is pretty funny because I remember that he actually accused me of an ad hominem when I wasn't even debating, so it's a little hard to take him seriously in that regard even with the Wikipedia definition he pasted into this post.

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GreySeal9

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#28 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

Since LJ is not willing to do it, can you tell me where the misunderstanding in this thread is? Because I don't see any misunderstading in this thread or anything that contradicts that Wikipedia definition, which leads me to believe that LJ is just being uneccesarily condescending as usual, which is funny because I remember that he actually accused me of an ad hominem when I wasn't even debating, so it's a little hard to take that post seriously.

MichBelle

Well, in your first post it seemed like you were saying that even if you included insults in your debate that they didn't count as ad hominem if the rest of your points were good. That isn't the case, but maybe we misunderstood your post.

That's not what I was saying.

What I was saying is that is that they wouldn't be an ad hominem if the insults a) weren't an attempt to blow off the other person's argument and b) if I responded with a killer argument composed of facts and logic rather than using the insults to deflect the other person's argument. Ad hominems have to be an attempt to discredit someone's argument and if I laid down a killer argument rather than using an ad hominem to discredit an argument but simply added my opinion that someone is a **** debator, then that is not an ad hominem.

But some people, like LJ for instance, tend to think that insult is synonymous with ad hominem when it isn't. If an insult is not used to discredit an argument, it is not an ad hominem. So yes, you could have tons of insults in a post and not have committed an ad hominem.

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GreySeal9

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#29 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

What the **** is ad hominem? HolyRomanEmpero

Correct example of an ad hominem:

Incorrect example of an ad hominem:

The definition in the second picture is correct, but simply saying "Idiots. They come in pairs" is not an ad hominem.

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tenaka2

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#30 tenaka2
Member since 2004 • 17958 Posts

Ad hominem......An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it. From reading this thread....yes...it's misunderstood.LJS9502_basic

I think that because you have a pic of the cure in your sig that your opinion on this issue is biased.

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HolyRomanEmpero

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#31 HolyRomanEmpero
Member since 2011 • 31 Posts

[QUOTE="HolyRomanEmpero"]What the **** is ad hominem? GreySeal9

Correct example of an ad hominem:

Incorrect example of an ad hominem:

The definition in the second picture is correct, but simply saying "Idiots. They come in pairs" is not an ad hominem.

oooooooooooohh... I get it! Thanks!
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Author_Jerry

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#32 Author_Jerry
Member since 2006 • 568 Posts
GreySeal, I'm not sure ad hominem means what you think it means. In my third edition of Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan Garner defines an ad hominem as "an argument directed not to the merits of an opponent's argument but to the personality or character of the opponent." And my fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has a usage note on this phrase that states: "As the principal meaning of the preposition ad suggests, the homo of ad hominem was originally the person to whom an argument was addressed, not its subject. The phrase denoted an argument designed to appeal to the listener's emotions rather than reason, as in the sentence The Republicans' evocation of pity for the small farmer struggling to maintain his property is a purely ad hominem argument for reducing inheritance taxes. . . . The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case: Ad hominem attacks on one's opponents are a tried-and-true strategy for people who have a case that is weak." The principal definition alluded to above is, "Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason." No matter when you insult your opponent in an argument, by these definitions, it is still an appeal to "emotions" or "personal considerations" rather than an appeal to logic and reason. Therefore, by definition, to insult your opponent in a debate would be to make an argument that attempts to damage the character of the adversary rather than the argument of the adversary--and that is what an ad hominem is. No matter how you slice it, insults have no place in arguments. I'm not all that familiar with logical fallacies (and I don't have a logic textbook on hand to verify my interpretation of these definitions), but these definitions don't seem to allow room for any kind of remarks or arguments involving personal attacks on an opponent; and, therefore, such attacks would rightly be classed as ad hominems.
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GreySeal9

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#35 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

[QUOTE="MichBelle"] Well, in your first post it seemed like you were saying that even if you included insults in your debate that they didn't count as ad hominem if the rest of your points were good. That isn't the case, but maybe we misunderstood your post.MichBelle

That's not what I was saying.

What I was saying is that is that they wouldn't be an ad hominem if the insults a) weren't an attempt to blow off the other person's argument and b) if I responded with a killer argument composed of facts and logic rather than using the insults to deflect the other person's argument. Ad hominems have to be an attempt to discredit someone's argument and if I laid down a killer argument rather than using an ad hominem to discredit an argument but simply added my opinion that someone is a **** debator, then that is not an ad hominem.

But some people, like LJ for instance, tend to think that insult is synonymous with ad hominem when it isn't. If an insult is not used to discredit an argument, it is not an ad hominem. So yes, you could have tons of insults in a post and not have committed an ad hominem.

Well, no. In the context of a debate, any insult can discredit your opponent in the eyes of the audience and would indeed be an ad hominem attack. It doesn't matter how many valid points you include in your argument along with it.

This is not correct. The insult has to be an attempt to discredit. If I discredit an argument with facts and logic but add an insult because I'm frustrated by the other person's stupidity, it is not an ad hominem. An insult simply having the potential to discredit an argument in the eyes of audience doesn't make it an ad hominem.

Notice what Wikipedia says:

Gratuitous verbal abuseor "name-calling" itself isnotanad hominemor a logical fallacy.Wiki

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surrealnumber5

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#36 surrealnumber5
Member since 2008 • 23044 Posts

a semantics debate between, largely, agreeing parties. this should be productive.

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GreySeal9

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#38 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

a semantics debate between, largely, agreeing parties. this should be productive.

surrealnumber5

It's not a semantics debate. MichBelle is claiming that any insult is ad hominem because any insult has the potential to discredit the other person in the eyes of the audience and thus is an ad hominem. That is not true.

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Author_Jerry

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#40 Author_Jerry
Member since 2006 • 568 Posts
An insult simply having the potential to discredit an argument in the eyes of audience doesn't make it an ad hominem.GreySeal9
And I argue that an insult made is, in itself, an argument, which is what makes an insult hurled during a debate or argument an ad hominem. The insult doesn't do anything else to further an argument but to discredit the adversary personally, rather than the argument of the adversary. Correct me if I'm wrong. Edit: I mean, "an insult made during a debate or argument is, in itself, an argument, which is what makes it an ad hominem to hurl an insult during these activities."
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GreySeal9

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#42 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

This is not correct. The insult has to be an attempt to discredit. If I discredit an argument with facts and logic but add an insult because I'm frustrated by the other person's stupidity, it is not an ad hominem. An insult simply having the potential to discredit an argument in the eyes of audience doesn't make it an ad hominem.

Notice what Wikipedia says:

"Gratuitous verbal abuseor "name-calling" itself isnotanad hominemor a logical fallacy."

MichBelle

Ah, you didn't make it clear in your earlier posts. The insult "you're a bad debater" was a bad example to use. I'm still not sure you fully understand it, but I'm certainly not going to argue with you about it. Heck, you've got wikipedia to fall back on. I just have my bachelor's degree in Ancient Greek and Latin.

The "ah" sounds quite familiar. :lol:

Also, I don't care about your "degrees" as I cannot know if they even exist and regardless, you're wrong. Seriously, attempting to boost one's ethos over the internet doesn't fly with me.

I made it clear in that I said that an insult is not an ad hominem if it doesn't attempt to discredit an argument or sweep it under the rug. If I adequately responded to an argument with a killer argument or rebuttal, I have dealt with the claim. So if I add an insult and use is not as a means to discredit, it is not an ad hominem. Ad hominems are characterized by their usage, not the fact that an insult can potentially discredit someone.

My example was fine.

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GreySeal9

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#43 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

[QUOTE="MichBelle"] Well, in your first post it seemed like you were saying that even if you included insults in your debate that they didn't count as ad hominem if the rest of your points were good. That isn't the case, but maybe we misunderstood your post.MichBelle

That's not what I was saying.

What I was saying is that is that they wouldn't be an ad hominem if the insults a) weren't an attempt to blow off the other person's argument and b) if I responded with a killer argument composed of facts and logic rather than using the insults to deflect the other person's argument. Ad hominems have to be an attempt to discredit someone's argument and if I laid down a killer argument rather than using an ad hominem to discredit an argument but simply added my opinion that someone is a **** debator, then that is not an ad hominem.

But some people, like LJ for instance, tend to think that insult is synonymous with ad hominem when it isn't. If an insult is not used to discredit an argument, it is not an ad hominem. So yes, you could have tons of insults in a post and not have committed an ad hominem.

Well, no. In the context of a debate, any insult can discredit your opponent in the eyes of the audience and would indeed be an ad hominem attack. It doesn't matter how many valid points you include in your argument along with it.

This is not correct. The insult has to be a direct attempt to discredit. If I discredit an argument with facts and logic but added an insult, it is not an ad hominem. An insult simply having the potential to discredit an argument in the eyes of audience doesn't make it an ad hominem.

Notice what Wikipedia says:

Gratuitous verbal abuseor "name-calling" itself isnotanad hominemor a logical fallacy.Wiki

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GreySeal9

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#45 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

GreySeal, I'm not sure ad hominem means what you think it means. In my third edition of Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan Garner defines an ad hominem as "an argument directed not to the merits of an opponent's argument but to the personality or character of the opponent." And my fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has a usage note on this phrase that states: "As the principal meaning of the preposition ad suggests, the homo of ad hominem was originally the person to whom an argument was addressed, not its subject. The phrase denoted an argument designed to appeal to the listener's emotions rather than reason, as in the sentence The Republicans' evocation of pity for the small farmer struggling to maintain his property is a purely ad hominem argument for reducing inheritance taxes. . . . The phrase now chiefly describes an argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case: Ad hominem attacks on one's opponents are a tried-and-true strategy for people who have a case that is weak." The principal definition alluded to above is, "Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason." No matter when you insult your opponent in an argument, by these definitions, it is still an appeal to "emotions" or "personal considerations" rather than an appeal to logic and reason. Therefore, by definition, to insult your opponent in a debate would be to make an argument that attempts to damage the character of the adversary rather than the argument of the adversary--and that is what an ad hominem is. No matter how you slice it, insults have no place in arguments. I'm not all that familiar with logical fallacies (and I don't have a logic textbook on hand to verify my interpretation of these definitions), but these definitions don't seem to allow room for any kind of remarks or arguments involving personal attacks on an opponent; and, therefore, such attacks would rightly be classed as ad hominems.Author_Jerry

I think an ad hominem means an attempt to discredit a person's argument by attacking them personally. So it does mean what I think it means.

If I use the insult as a means of discrediting their argument, it is an ad hominem. If I don't, it's not. It depends on the usage of an insult.

Ad no, an insult by itself is not an argument.

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GreySeal9

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#46 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]An insult simply having the potential to discredit an argument in the eyes of audience doesn't make it an ad hominem.Author_Jerry
And I argue that an insult made is, in itself, an argument, which is what makes an insult hurled during a debate or argument an ad hominem. The insult doesn't do anything else to further an argument but to discredit the adversary personally, rather than the argument of the adversary. Correct me if I'm wrong. Edit: I mean, "an insult made during a debate or argument is, in itself, an argument, which is what makes it an ad hominem to hurl an insult during these activities."

No, an insult is not automatically an argument. There's no reason to believe that to be true.

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GreySeal9

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#47 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

The "ah" sounds quite familiar. :lol:

Also, I don't care about your "degrees" as I cannot know if they even exist and regardless, you're wrong. Seriously, attempting to boost one's ethos over the internet doesn't fly with me.

I made it clear in that I said that an insult is not an ad hominem if it doesn't attempt to discredit an argument or sweep it under the rug. If I adequately responded to an argument with a killer argument or rebuttal, I have dealt with the claim. So if I add an insult and use is not as a means to discredit, it is not an ad hominem. Ad hominems are characterized by their usage, not the fact that an insult can potentially discredit someone.

My example was fine.

MichBelle

Now that you've made it quite clear what you are trying to say, I am quite sure you're wrong. Please keep trying to argue your point, though. It's very entertaining.

It seems you don't have a counter argument.

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firefluff3

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#48 firefluff3
Member since 2010 • 2073 Posts

I've never heard the term ad hominem before.

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GreySeal9

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#50 GreySeal9
Member since 2010 • 28247 Posts

[QUOTE="GreySeal9"]

[QUOTE="surrealnumber5"]

a semantics debate between, largely, agreeing parties. this should be productive.

MichBelle

It's not a semantics debate. MichBelle is claiming that any insult is ad hominem because any insult has the potential to discredit the other person in the eyes of the audience and thus is an ad hominem. That is not true.

I never said any insult was ad hominem, and you then misquoted wikipedia to try to support your argument.

Yes you did.

In the context of a debate, any insult can discredit your opponent in the eyes of the audience and would indeed be an ad hominem attack.MichBelle

The context we are talking about is clearly that of a debate.

Also, how did I misquote Wikipedia.