Re:       Re: "ad hominem" attacks? I don't think so

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 17 16:47:11 UTC 2003

In a message dated 6/17/03 12:29:52 PM, LJT777 at AOL.COM writes:

> Calling Mr. Fiske a "crackpot" is not an ad hominem attack?
Nah. One epithet doth not an an ad hominem "attack" make.

This epithet was part of a larger context in which the writer attempted to
deal with the issues. I agree that the use of such epithets is impolite, but
by and large the DISCOURSE of the person who wrote "crackpot" has been in
effect a definition of the sense in which "crackpot" was intended.

Merely picking one mildly nasty word out of a discourse and responding only
to that--while ignoring the CONTENT of the discourse--is IN ITSELF something of
an ad hominem attack: it says, in effect, "the ideas that this person is
trying to convey are not worth considering because he is such a nasty person as to
use the word 'crackpot' about his opponent's position [even if he has
carefully defined his response to the opponent's position]."

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