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Eliminating Ad Hominem when Communicating Ideas

An ad hominem, short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or unrelated belief of the person supporting it.

So, how does one eliminate this kind of disruptive behavior or situations to occur during an intellectual conversation or trying to communicate ideas in general?


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    Sep 25 2012: Unfortunately denial is not just a river in Eygpt... and it is not curable with duct tape. Those who most often practice ad hominem arguments are 1) Republican 2) strictly wedded to their world view 3)Trolls looking for a reaction.
    I think the only thing we can do is to keep the discussion open, use what we need and leave the rest. In the first two cases you can't change anyones' mind about anything unless they are willing to consider alternatives. The third case is a null value (not statistically useful)

    So in sum: Take what you need, contribute what you can, leave the rest.
    • Sep 26 2012: Kris. Your first paragraph is an exemplar of ad hominem argument...

      ... "Those who most often practice ad hominem arguments are 1) Republican"

      Your summation is a useful starting point.

      Changing another person's viewpoint is always going to be a challenge. Argument over the internet is frequently futile because you don't see the person you are engaging with, you cannot hear their voice, intonation and inflection and misunderstandings are rife.

      'Conversation' via computer network can be useful (I am a member of several internet groups which are closed to those outside of my working life and they work very well) but I don't expect much from open forum debate because we all start from very different places. It is frustrating, where you may have any rudimentary knowledge of logical debate, to engage with sincere people who hold a point of view which excludes large swathes of people and stifles open debate.
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        Sep 26 2012: What a great example of an ad hominem argument: "Most people who use ad hominem argument are Republicans." Hilarious.

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