non sequitur (was Re: [linux-elitists] Re: Yet another mozilla atrocity)

Karsten M. Self
Tue Oct 14 20:53:49 PDT 2003

on Tue, Oct 14, 2003 at 11:23:45AM -0400, Jesse Hutton ( wrote:
> On Tue, 14 Oct 2003, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > <pedantic>
> >
> >    Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:
> >
> >    non sequtur:  2.  A statement (as a response) that does not follow
> >    logically from anything previously said
> >
> > </pedantic>
> And, FWIW, I always considered a non sequitur to mean that a person's
> argument is hopelessly flawed internally ("An inference which does not
> follow from the premises" according to 

That's one usage.  The one I cited above (after misspelling "non
sequitur" myself in the iron law of spelling rants) is the usage I
suspect is more commonly intended in debates, online or otherwise.
Namely that a response to a particular point has no bearing on its

> For example, if I present a set of premises and then draw a rediculous
> conclusion, that would be a non sequitur (it's done in politics all
> the time). However, I don't have to accept your premises in the first
> place, so any response I make to your statement, no matter how inane,
> is not necessarily, strictly speaking, a non sequitur.

If you can justify your arguments by restating the premises (preferably
by justifying the basis for their restatement), I'll find your
conclusions more persuasive.

"That's a bunch of crock and here's an unsubstantiated rant to
substantiate my conclusions", leaves me at best nonplussed.

As I said previously:  I'm growing ever more aware of this school of
argument in a number of contexts, and I'm finding it more than slightly
annoying.  I'll call it out (and agree with Rick's comment regarding
this) when I see it.


Karsten M. Self <>
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Spread the real scoop on Xenu and The Church of Scientology, link
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