- Ad hominem in disguise: strategic manoeuvring with direct personal attacks
- Argumentation and Advocacy
- Volume | Issue number
- 45 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
To a large degree, ordinary language users think that discussion moves that from a theoretical perspective are seen as fallacious are indeed unreasonable. This is the main finding of a comprehensive empirical research project on the conventional acceptability of the pragma-dialectical discussion moves. In light of these findings it is remarkable that fallacies occur so often and that many times the participants in discussions do not seem to notice them. This especially goes for the abusive form of the argumentum ad hominem. While language users find this a very unreasonable discussion move, in real life it often remains undetected. In this paper I argue that this can be explained by analysing the abusive ad hominem as a special form of strategic maneuvering. The abusive ad hominem takes on a reasonable appearance because it mimics legitimate critical reactions to authority argumentation.
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