[linux-elitists] Argumentum Ad-hominem [was Re: Request for Comments: How to Deal with Internet?Trolls - the Cognitive Therapy approach]
shlomif at iglu.org.il
Mon Mar 7 22:26:33 PST 2011
thanks for your E-mail. Changing the subject - hope it doesn't FUBARs with too
many gmail.com accounts, etc.
Sorry for the longish post, but I couldn't find a way to write a shorter
message (or didn't have the time).
On Monday 07 Mar 2011 20:46:14 Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Nick Moffitt (nick at teh.entar.net):
> > I have also been partial to:
> > http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html
> That is indeed really excellent. I have hastened to cross-reference
> that from my own piece.
Well, it is kinda long ("too long - didn't read"). However, quoting the second
In reality, ad hominem is unrelated to sarcasm or personal abuse. Argumentum
ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker's
argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere
presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be
used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical
fallacy isn't there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the
fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an
attack on that person's arguments.
Now, the way I see it (and please let me know how I am wrong by quoting the
whole context) is that the following sequence: (I've placed persons in [...])
1. [Alice] who is very experienced in licensing (and may have legal or pseudo-
legal background) claims that the "GPL has won".
2. [Sophie] is relatively inexperienced in dealing with licences, disagrees
with [Alice] and claims that she thinks that it is too early to say if the GPL
has "won" or that it doesn't matter too much, or that licences are not engaged
in a war from which there's only one victor and that we should all live in
peace, blah blah, etc. etc..
3. [Jack] says that because [Sophie] is much less experienced than [Alice],
what she says does not hold water, and that [Alice] knows what she's saying.
Now, unless I misunderstood [Jack]'s objection in this case (and it's possible
because the message of Rick (that [Jack] is his avatar) was a little too
terse), it is an ad-hominem. However, if [Jack] just tells [Sophie] that she
should respect what [Alice] says, because [Alice] is more experienced than
her, then it is not an ad-hominem, but rather just saying "Please respect your
elders." in nicer words.
However, like it or not, I think saying "the GPL has won" is too vague and
non-factual. It's like saying "cats have won" or "dogs have won" or "PHP has
won" or "Microsoft has won" or "Capitalism has won" or "Socialism has won" or
all the other stuff like that.
I might be a little dense, and I don't do "mind-reading" or neuro-lingual
programming, but I'm usually intelligent enough to understand things when they
are said correctly. If "Teh Enter-Nick" would be kind enough to explain what
exactly he means by "The GPL has won.", then we can have a more meaningful
discussion. Of course, I'm also in part guilty for responding to his "The GPL
has won", possibly without properly getting to the bottom of his meaning.
("Shlomif admits he has lost." - film at eleven - ;-)).
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/
In the Technion, there are many ways to get from one place to the other, but
they are all the same length.
Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
More information about the linux-elitists