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Re: OT fallacies

From: Keith H Duggar <duggar_at_alum.mit.edu>
Date: 3 Jun 2006 03:10:17 -0700
Message-ID: <1149329417.570950.135550@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>


mAsterdam wrote:
> Keith H Duggar wrote:
> > How do you know the purpose of those insults? I for one
> > believe they served a /very/ different purpose having
> > little to do with the argumentation here.
>
> What's your take on the purpose?

some possibilities are:

  1. warnings to future readers. If a VI is outed frequently it increases the likelihood future readers will avoid their snake-oil.
  2. shame as deterrent. If a VI is insulted enough times by enough people they /may/ pause to examine themselves.
  3. venting frustration. Let's not forget the benefit of venting some of the extreme frustration VI cause in those intelligent enough to realize the damage VI do.

Dmitry A. Kazakov wrote:
> > How do you know the purpose of those insults? I for one
> > believe they served a /very/ different purpose having
> > little to do with the argumentation here.
>
> Do purpose justify means?

Hmm ... that seems like a deep question at the moment. I'm not sure if it's truly deep or if I'm just too tired. Regardless, I'm just pointing out the error in assuming we /know/ the purpose of the authors.

[the rest of the message is the finale of a pissing contest and can safely be ignored]

mAsterdam wrote:
> Keith H Duggar wrote:
> > mAsterdam wrote:
> > > All of them are ad hominem (=personal) attacks,
> > > though.
> >
> > Unfortunately, mAsterdam, this loose usage of "ad
> > hominem = any personal attack" is a relatively recent
> > concoction of the ignorant masses. (See for example the
> > discussion at
> >
> > http://www.bartleby.com/61/71/A0087100.html).
> >
> > Your equation "ad hominem = personal" above also shows
> > that, in this case, you share this mass ignorance of
> > what the Latin actually means.
>
> The Latin "ad hominem" just means "to(wards) the man". I
> am ignorant of current developments in insultology.

Ah, I see it just means "to the man" eh? Which man? I guess you just didn't believe me or you wanted to have a pissing contest? Is that why you decided to contradict the point I and Marshall tried to make? That it is ignorant and fairly useless to confuse "insult" with "ad hominem"? Even though it has become (and is becoming) more common? Well then, let me unzip and give you what you asked for:

  The phrase "ad hominem" is and always has been short for   "argumentum ad hominem". Now argumentum derives from the   verb arguo meaning to show, to argue, to prove, to appeal   (as to reason) and the noun suffix -mentum. Thus it can   mean variously in English a showing, a proof, an appeal,   an argument. Now ad is a simple preposition meaning to.   Finally hominem is the accusative (required by ad) of the   noun homo meaning human. Thus "argumentum ad hominem" is   best translated to English in this context as "appeal to   the human". In other words, trying to convince or persuade   another by appealing to their human nature.

  Thus, "argumentum ad hominem" bears /no specific/ relation   to /insults/ or /insulting/. It can include appeals to   pity, remorse, greed, fear, anger, distaste, etc. Insults   directed /to your opponent/ are a means of creating such   feelings or bias in the human /to whom you are appealing/.   Thus the "homo" in "ad hominem" is the human(s) that is   the /object/ of your appeal NOT the /subject/. And the   "ad" is to them not your opponent.

  When you say, as you did, "personal attack" in English,   everyone understands this as "attack directed to the   opponent". Whereas "ad hominem" means "to the object of   your appeal" not "to the opponent". In other words, the   two phrases are talking about different homines.

Is this sufficient? Will you now agree that "ad hominem = insulting opponent" is a confused understanding of the phrase and concept?

Received on Sat Jun 03 2006 - 05:10:17 CDT

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