More explanation on ad hominem

So I’ve had people reach out to me and say they are sorry that the personal attacks prompted me to shrug off Twitter. That’s very kind, but it’s actually not hurt feelings.

As I said before, I’m just bored. Social media in general has gotten a little boring for me; I’ve become one of those annoying people who plans to make a big deal about presence. Nobody is really working on the same things I am in the same way; I don’t feel like I am learning much; I can skim for interesting articles and the like without engaging with people.

Young scholars (and old) should always feel free to email papers and the like to look at promote here. My email

I’m trying to point out, gently, how very, very dull ad hominem is. It’s just bad reasoning, and there is nothing to work with. The excuse-making that thundered out of the universe in response to my “cut it out” post was an embarrassing indictment of the quality of thought in the urban social media world. Take a logic class, would you? I mean, like a real one with a philosopher.

Ad hominem doesn’t just mean dumb personal attacks like “you poopface.” It means that you reject the argument simply because of who made the argument and what motives you impute to that person.

Yep, a person’s positionally affects their political interests. Yep, a person may be making the wrong arguments for the wrong motivations. Or a person might be making the right arguments out there for the wrong motivations. You critique the arguments–you mention the motives in passing–if you are going to engage in public reason.

I swear, for every good-hearted YIMBY who genuinely wants to house people, there is some loudmouth tech bullyboy from SF who is using the YIMBY cause to try to wave his dick around and win arguments. Guess what? More housing in SF is still a good idea even if an asshole supports it for the wrong reason.

Self-interest? Sure, you may want to apply a discount to their points, note that you don’t find them to be a trustworthy source…but you still have to deal with their points.

Oh, and shouting “THAT CAN NEVER HAPPEN” is not argument. Appeals to pragmatism and incrementalism have their limits; one doesn’t get to crown oneself the arbiter of what can happen and what can’t. Defending the status quo against bigger changes and more sweeping visions makes one a goon for existing power, not some sort of hard realist.

Edited to add: All that bullshit about the Parkland kids? They’re rich kids. They’re actors. They just want attention.

That is straight-up ad hominem. And the reason why that is the opposition tactic is simple. When you look at reason, there is very little to argue with: Kids would like to go to school without getting shot at and killed.

But they….they…they…they….

Nope. Deal with the argument.