personal attack vs ad hominem

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Sovatthika
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personal attack vs ad hominem

Post by Sovatthika » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:45 am

from the terms of service: "f. Ad-hominem attacks, including the vilification of individuals based on any attributes - whether related to their personal attributes (e.g. gender, nationality, sexuality, race, age) or their approach to the Dhamma (e.g. their practices, level of experience, or chosen tradition)"

this may seem like a quibble, but i have noticed its relevance recently. i refer to this article to delineate a personal attack from an ad hominem fallacy https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominem

Argumentum ad hominem (from the Latin, "to the man") is an informal logical fallacy that occurs when someone attempts to refute an argument by attacking the claim-maker, rather than engaging in an argument or factual refutation of the claim. There are many subsets of ad hominem, all of them attacking the source of the claim rather than attacking the claim or attempting to counter arguments. They are a type of fallacy of relevance.

The fallacy is a subset of the genetic fallacy, as it focuses on the source of the argument, at the expense of focusing on the truth or falsity of the actual argument itself.

An ad hominem should not be confused with an insult, which admittedly attacks a person, but does not seek to rebut that person's arguments by doing so — that type of rhetoric is better termed as poisoning the well.

An ad hominem argument has the basic form:

Premise 1: Person A makes claim X
Premise 2: There is something objectionable about person A
Conclusion: Therefore, claim X is false


example of a personal attack: you are a gay idiot and you have no understanding of buddhism; screw you, piece of sh!t, and go die
example of ad hominem: you are a follower of the mahayana tradition, therefore what you have said about theravāda buddhism is wrong.

i think clearly a personal attack and an ad hominem don't have the same intention; of course, a personal attack can be turned into an ad hominem, but it is the personal attack that is what offends. unless you have expectations for forum members to be well-trained in the non-use of logical fallacies, which i don't think is the case.
Of note: if the subject of discussion is whether or not somebody is credible and/or competent — eg, "believe X because I am Y" — then it is not an ad hominem to criticize their qualifications. also of note, not all ad hominems are wrong; if i said a follower of the mahayana tradition was wrong about something because they are a mahayanist and they were in fact wrong, i would have been right but argued poorly. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-fallacy-fallacy

if the terms of service remain unchanged in this regard, then i contend we are promoting a 'safe space' where others are afraid to refute validly on the basis of offending someone
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Dhammanando
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Re: personal attack vs ad hominem

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:17 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:45 am
if the terms of service remain unchanged in this regard, then i contend we are promoting a 'safe space' where others are afraid to refute validly on the basis of offending someone
As the TOS phrase is "ad hominem attack" and not "ad hominem argument", I should have thought it obvious that the proscribed behaviour was bad manners and not bad reasoning.

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Sovatthika
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Re: personal attack vs ad hominem

Post by Sovatthika » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:25 am

it signals to me a lack of understanding of the distinction between ad hominem and personal attack. this is also based on various interactions i've had on the forum
anyway, why would it be referred to as an 'ad hominem attack' instead of a personal attack when ad hominem is distinct. as part of a greater trend of political correctness, i have been admonished on another forum for saying the dalai lama was not really a buddhist. are the guidelines here in accordance with right speech or just political correctness
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

binocular
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Re: personal attack vs ad hominem

Post by binocular » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:16 am

To begin with, the distinctions between a fallacious ad hominem argument and a justified ad hominem need to be understood.

When a statement is challenged by making an ad hominem attack on its author, it is important to draw a distinction between whether the statement in question was an argument or a statement of fact (testimony). In the latter case the issues of the credibility of the person making the statement may be crucial.[8]
/.../

Doug Walton, Canadian academic and author, has argued that ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and that in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue,[9] as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject's words.

The philosopher Charles Taylor has argued that ad hominem reasoning (discussing facts about the speaker or author relative to the value of his statements) is essential to understanding certain moral issues due to the connection between individual persons and morality (or moral claims), and contrasts this sort of reasoning with the apodictic reasoning (involving facts beyond dispute or clearly established) of philosophical naturalism.[10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_homine ... _reasoning
Especially in the context of religion, where so much is and has to be taken on faith, whether a person's claims will appear true or not to the audience depends greatly on the claimant's credibility.

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Re: personal attack vs ad hominem

Post by binocular » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:18 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:25 am
are the guidelines here in accordance with right speech or just political correctness
Who can adequately answer this question?
Are you asking that person?

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