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Personal attack vs Personal remark


BabbsJohnson
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I was wondering what Parliamentarians might see as what the difference is in the above (attack vs remark), as far as RONR goes, and when people say “personal attack” in regards to a thing not permitted in meetings, are we referencing the classic ad hominem fallacy (various kinds could qualify)  “against the man” (not the argument)?

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1 hour ago, Nosey said:

I was wondering what Parliamentarians might see as what the difference is in the above (attack vs remark), as far as RONR goes, and when people say “personal attack” in regards to a thing not permitted in meetings, are we referencing the classic ad hominem fallacy (various kinds could qualify)  “against the man” (not the argument)?

Yes.

Edited to add: See pages 43 and 392 of RONR for more. 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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19 hours ago, Nosey said:

I was wondering what Parliamentarians might see as what the difference is in the above (attack vs remark), as far as RONR goes, and when people say “personal attack” in regards to a thing not permitted in meetings, are we referencing the classic ad hominem fallacy (various kinds could qualify)  “against the man” (not the argument)?

The most pertinent rule regarding this subject is the following:

“When a question is pending, a member can condemn the nature or likely consequences of the proposed measure in strong terms, but he must avoid personalities, and under no circumstances can he attack or question the motives of another member. The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 392)

Ad hominem is described as “a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.” 

So yes, I think it is fair to say that they are describing largely the same thing. As to whatever difference there might be between “attack” and “remark,” I think this is irrelevant. The word “attack” is not the key word in this rule. The key is that members may not make any comments regarding “the motives of another member” because “The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.”

Edited by Josh Martin
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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

The most pertinent rule regarding this subject is the following:

“When a question is pending, a member can condemn the nature or likely consequences of the proposed measure in strong terms, but he must avoid personalities, and under no circumstances can he attack or question the motives of another member. The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 392)

Ad hominem is described as “a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.” 

So yes, I think it is fair to say that they are describing largely the same thing. As to whatever difference there might be between “attack” and “remark,” I think this is irrelevant. The word “attack” is not the key word in this rule. The key is that members may not make any comments regarding “the motives of another member” because “The measure, not the member, is the subject of debate.”

Thank you Josh. It's amazing how that one simple thing is so important.

"Debate the measure, not the man" or "Attack arguments, not people" 

I like to think of it also as, once an argument leaves a speaker, it has little to do with him after that.

It's in the arena, to be examined, and it either has "legs" and stands well, or it doesn't, and can be easily "torn down".

It's either a good argument or not, has merit or not, represents truth or not, offers solutions or not. 

The way I see it, the speaker is merely the method of delivery. Once an argument leaves the speaker, it has a life of it's own, the longevity of which is determined by it's reasonable and efficient aplicability to the issue/problem at hand.

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