Ad Hominem - why do people do it?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Quantum Quack, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    You mean in the real, people aren't so sensitive or they would have no friends to be around in the first place, yes, he he?
     
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  3. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    No, manipulative, disingenuous people in the real face real consequences. Online they falsely believe they can act with impunity.
    Do not forget that the internet is a massive info/data soak. Subject to mining by corporations, governments, and individuals who are benign or malicious, today and more so in the future...

    edit: I just realized I posted in error.. sorry about that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  5. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Um...partially. The tendency to want to respect your friends, is usually more of the norm. And the tendency to cut your friends some slack, knowing that they are joking around, etc...is also more of the norm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, they aren't. They are addressing the topic of whether engaging with the poster is worthwhile, regardless of the points they are ostensibly making or pretending to make. See post 140.
    Whether or not that observation is in error does not affect the soundness of the argument.
    You didn't raise it. I did. That was my point.
    Reading comprehencsion problems, or just bad faith posting - can't tell.
    Anyway: Absolutely and explicitly not. All ad hominem arguments are fallacious, and that has nothing to do with my "issue" - it is explicitly and directly and in so many words excluded from consideration.
    All ad hominem arguments are invalid. They are all - formally - fallacies. Argumentum ad hominem is an invalid form of argument.
    And that is irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not to engage a bad faith poster.
    The text of the post states otherwise. Mindreading should be avoided. The text is in front of you - read it.
    Not rebutting.
    Avoid reading minds, attend to the text of the posts. The validity or "worth" of the points was explicitly set aside, explicitly declared to be irrelevant. The argument holds whether the points are true, false, or bullshit - the points are not involved.

    See p0st 140.
     
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  8. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    How does claiming a person to be a retard as a response to an argument put forward not fit your criteria of
    • avoiding the points raised by ignoring them,
    • devalue the worth of those points by insulting the character of the opponent,
    • attacking the character of the opponent
    I believe it is merely an insult but you seem to think other wise by the criteria you are stipulating.
    ??
    I am really confused by what you are trying to put forward because the criteria you are using applies to anything that is posted that doesn't address the points directly, as subjectively assessed by the opponent claiming the AAH or insult.
    According to what you keep repeating, any insult is also an AAH. IMO.
    Simply avoiding the points can be deemed an insult as part of the avoidance therefore it is an AAH. ( according to your criteria)
    So how does an insult avoid being considered an AAH using your criteria?
    How can the two responses, insult and AAH be differentiated objectively?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    8,808
    It is all to do with what follows what.
    If it is a case of “because I find your arguments poor I think you must be [insert character trait]” then this is not an ad hominem.
    If it is a case of “because of [insert character trait] I think your arguments are poor, devalued, or I am seeking to avoid them entirely” then this is an ad hominem.

    Does that make it clearer for you?
    The accusation may be the result of subjective assessment, and may be clarified as not being so by examination of the argument presented. But if the reason for avoiding, rebutting, ignoring, the specific argument, is the argument that attacks the person, then it is an ad hominem argument.
    If the personal attack is the result of the assessment of the argument, or simply with no reference to any argument, then this would be an insult. It is a matter of what follows what, whether the insult is the reasoning (argument) or the conclusion.
    No, it is only an AAH if it the insult is used as the reason to rebut, avoid, tarnish, the points made by the person.
    There is overlap between what is an AAH and what is an insult. It is not an either/or. Simply avoiding points can be deemed an insult, if someone finds it to be insulting. In your case, however, I wouldn’t say there was any insult, just a mistaken belief on your part regarding motive. But it was an attack on my motive that you used (hence argument) for avoiding the points raised.
    Had you answered the points as written, and then simply said “but I find you not to be arguing in good faith” then that would not be an AAH as you would not have been using it to avoid, rebut, tarnish the points made.
    By not being the reason for the avoidance, the rebuttal, the tainting of the other person’s points.
    Insult is entirely subjective: what one person finds to be an insult might not be what someone else does. Many insults are unintentional as a result. But an AAH is simply the use of a personal characteristic (of the one who made the points, for example) as an argument in the rebuttal, avoidance, or tainting of points.
    Ask these questions:
    - Is a personal attack being made, whether that be against motive, or character etc?
    - Is the personal attack being used as a reason to avoid, rebut, or taint the points being made by that person?
    If you answer yes to both questions then you would seem to have an argumentum ad hominem.
    If you answer yes to the first and no to the second, you have just a personal attack, possibly an insult if the person attacked considers it to be.
    E.g. if it is a case of “because you are X, your points are of reduced worth” then this is an ad hominem (X being a personal attack).
    If it is a case of “because your points are of reduced worth, you are X” then this is just a personal attack.
    Avoiding an argument because of X is of the former kind.

    Any other clarifications required?
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,497
    And since it is not, in the examples you chose, there is no ad hominem argument present.
    In the posted text.
    Not in your imagination, and not in hypothetical states of mind you assert lie behind the posted text.
    The answer to the second question was "no".
    The personal insult (not "attack") was an indirect feature of a discussion about the worth of engaging the poster - explicitly and clearly and repeatedly not about engaging the points raised.
    The one is an invalid form of argument. The other is an assertion or claim.
    The one is valid or invalid, fallacious , or sound. The other is true or false or bullshit.
    Avoiding a poster because they post in bad faith is not.
    Sure.
    Why do you think you can't you tell the difference between avoiding a poster and avoiding an argument or claim?

    In general: Read the text. Refer to post 140 if you need more. The matter of bullshit is central to public discussion in the US - it's not trivial, and it is thread relevant.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    or
    - is not a personal attack has nothing to do with the points raised but a statement of belief then what?

    If a person ( not you ok ) is incredibly vain, arrogant and paranoid then anything that even remotely appears to be a slight is deemed an attack.
    If I asked you to describe how you feel about me and you post a 30 page essay of vitriolic nonsense would I consider that to be an attack? Of course not.
    You are after all entitled to your opinion and belief, and no matter what you write as an opinion of me it is only just that and one you are fully entitled to.

    Your inference of attack vs the statement of a belief held is what is at issue here.
    You are deeming my opinion to be an attack, which it is not.
    To state that a post will not be responded to because I believe it is not posted in good will... is nothing more than a 20 word essay on how I feel about the good will I am witnessing and has nothing to do with the points.
    Thus no AAH is present.
    Thus the comment that stated I was a retard is an opinion premised in ignorance. Offensive only if I valued the opinion of that poster, which I don't.

    It is only an opinion that was expressed rather crudely.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    8,808
    Sure, and attacking the character to avoid those points is an ad hominem: the personal attack is used as the reason to avoid the points. Justified or not doesn’t stop it being an ad hominem.
    You do know that for an argument to be sound it has to be true, right? If the observation is incorrect then the premise is not true, thus it can not be sound.
    And I found it not to be in an actual sentence, and not understandable, hence the request for clarification. That was my point.
    Or simply poor writing on your part. I can tell.
    Not all ad hominems are actually considered fallacious, despite what your textbook may be saying.
    For starters, have a read of: https://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/person.html
    The ad hominem fallacy is an informal fallacy. Not a formal fallacy. It is a fallacy because it has no bearing on the points that were raised. It is a red-herring, aimed at avoiding or rebutting an argument through a personal attack.
    To quote from wiki’s introduction to the ad hominem:
    Determining whether it is worth one’s effort to debate the points because of some perceived character trait of the one who made the points IS an ad hominem.
    Have you avoided, rebutted, or tainted the points through an attack on the person? If yes, then you have an ad hominem. It’s really no more complicated than that.
    No mind-reading involved on my part. The AAH doesn’t need to explicitly rebut the points. It is sufficient that the argument, the attack on the person, be used to devalue the worth of the points, or simply to avoid them entirely.
    No, they’re not set aside, because the argument, the reason given, acted to both taint the worth of those points, and to avoid the points entirely. That makes it an argumentum ad hominem, an argument aimed at the person with the intention of rebutting, tainting, or avoiding the points made.
    Again, to quote wiki:
    The ad hominem “typically refers to a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”
    Note the word “avoided”.

    You seem locked into there being only the obvious kind, the: “you’re wrong because of [unrelated character trait]”. It is wider than that. Look at the principles involved, and work from there.
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,808
    Again, as explained elsewhere, the belief part is not the issue, but the use of that belief as argument for avoiding/rebutting/tainting the points raised.
    Don’t think of the term “attack” as being anything other than a word to describe an argument directed against.... So an attack on you would simply be an argument directed against you. It need not be an insult, and could be the most friendly exchange imaginable, but as used here, anything aimed against the person is considered an attack against the person. So don’t think of it necessarily in the perjorative.
    Again, the nature of the belief, or that it is a belief at all, is irrelevant to whether it is an ad hominem or not. You used an attack (understood as per above) against a person as the reason for avoiding / tainting / rebutting points raised.
    No, the belief is irrelevant.
    Your nature of your opinion is irrelevant, The relevant thing is that it is directed against a person, which makes it a personal attack.
    If I said that “Bob doesn’t know what 4+4 is because he lives in Utah” then this is a personal attack against Bob (and presumably everyone in Utah).
    So please stop thinking that the issue is what you believe, but rather that your belief of the person’s motive was used as a reason to avoid discussion.
    The AAH is present because you made an argument against the person in order to avoid addressing the points. One might consider it perfectly justifiable thing to do, but that still doesn’t stop it being an argument ad hominem.
    That comment, we both agree, is not an ad hominem argument, for reasons explained elsewhere.
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    30,497
    And attacking the character to justify avoiding the poster is not an ad hominem.
    No, it wasn't. It was to avoid the poster, not the points.
    That is explicit, directly stated.
    No such intention was visible.
    Even more, that intention was explicitly and clearly denied.

    You keep trying to read minds, for some reason - read the posts, instead. If you are still confused, read post 140.
    No, it isn't. That may be your central confusion. See post 140.
    It has to be directed at them, or it is not an ad hominem argument.
    And since it wasn't, no ad hominem argument was present.
    Since that did not happen, no ad hom was present.
     
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  15. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    22,661
    An argument requires what to be an argument?
    An argument must have a focus and be part of a process.
    To state that a post is lacking good will and will not be responded to ends any process involved.
    It is not an argument.
    I am not arguing with the opponent about my belief I am merely stating it. The discussion is over, ended simply because I refuse to argue with a bad faith opponent. No argument is present. No argument is invited.

    There is nothing to argue about it...

    "This argument is over"
    "Why?"
    "I believe you lack good will"
    why?
    "I believed you lack good will"
    why?
    "This argument is over"
    why?
    "I believed you lack good will"

    You see no matter how long you argue nothing will change what was believed or the argument being ended.
    There is no argument available.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  16. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    22,661
    well stated... clear and on the mark...

    Not avoiding the points,
    only avoiding the poster
    due to the belief
    in a lacking of good will.

    ...are we done now... can we move on to the thread topic?
     
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,808
    To explicitly state that the perceived motive is the reason for not discussing the points further really is an explicit argument against a person to avoid addressing the points. Hence AAH.
    Maybe you are thinking of a different example than post #75 which is the case being discussed here?
    Yes, in the quoted text. To wit: “given your lack of good will, I will refrain from discussing the rest of your post...”. It is quite explicit that the personal attack, the motive of the poster, is used as the reason to avoid the points raised.
    Are you sure you’re thinking of the same example, because your words do not seem to suggest it.
    But it is all about avoiding the points raised. That is what makes it an AAH.
    And there can be overlap, in that arguments can contain insults.
    First, where is the person avoiding the poster? Are you saying I’ve been engaged in discussion with someone who has hacked QQ’s account? The specific argument, provided above, is for the avoidance of the rest of the points made. Not the person. Had he said that he would, and subsequently did, put me on ignore, that would possibly be different.
    So given that you are so keen to stress the importance of sticking to what is written, please adhere to that yourself.
    I have read the text. I am responding to the text. Post 140 adds nothing to the issue, other than your preference for separating out the issue of whether to deal with someone at all or not. Unfortunately the reasons for doing so can still be an ad hominem, whether you want to accept that or not. And it unfortunately is a separate issue to the selective avoidance in the case in question.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  18. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    22,661
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    the points do not lack good will.
     
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,808
    An argument is simply something used in support of an action, belief, claim etc.
    It is the avoidance of one argument by the use of another (depending how worded, though), one directed at a person. If you close one argument because of the personal attack then you have created another argument, and it is that argument would be the argument ad hominem.
    That would be fine if you just say “You are arguing in bad faith” and left it at that.
    If I say that I am doing X because of rationale Y then Y is the argument in support of X. No other person need be invited. Perhaps you are misunderstanding what it means to be an argument?
    There is a difference between what is an argument (a rationale in support of a claim, belief, action) and an argument as in heated debate between people.
    Please do not confuse the two.
     
  21. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus
    After all these years Sarkus do you seriously think I would put my old debating buddy on iggy? really?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    8,808
    Then prove that by actually responding to the rest of that post.
    Of course, an ad hominem uttered to avoid can always be backtracked on due to it being a matter of avoidance rather than explicit rebuttal, so actually now responding to that post by way of “proof” would be rather vacuous.
    And given that you have not avoided the poster in any way since that post, really does weigh against your case here.
    But be that as it may, feel free to move on.
     
  23. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    22,661
    nope, there is no argument about it. No argument offered and no argument invited. Simply a statement of belief.
     

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