Misuse of the phrase "Ad-hominem" in post warning.

Posted by jsw225 5 years, 5 months ago to Philosophy
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So I go to make a post, and a new warning pops up informing me that Ad-Hominems ("attacking a person") are forbidden, and I just wanted to point out that you guys are using Ad-Hominem wrong.


But don't feel bad about it, almost everyone uses it wrongly, as well.

An Ad-Hominem is not just a personal attack. For example, if "Steve" (random made up person) says that the Sun rises in the west, and I call Steve and idiot, that is not an Ad-Hominem. It is a personal attack, even though Steve is an idiot.

Now imagine if Steve says, "The sun rises in the east and sets in the west." Then I say, "You're from Rhode Island, and people from there are idiots, so the sun can't possibly rise in the east and set in the west." That is an Ad-Hominem. Basically I'm dismissing Steve's argument based on inconsequential character feature of Steve.

The difference is subtle, and the end result for these boards is the same, i.e. "No personal attacks!" But a personal attack is not an Ad-Hominem. Ultimately banning Ad-Hominems means that a person's arguments must stand on their own, regardless of who that person is. This is a good thing. But it's still not a personal attack.

SOURCE URL: http://i.imgur.com/bB310l9.png

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