When to argue ad hominem

Skin in the game, vested interests, overt and covert prejudices, lived experience, Dunning-Kruger outgroup effects, genealogy of knowledge, aetiology, donatism, genealogy of knowledge

February 1, 2020 — January 28, 2023

Placeholder to remind me to estimate how, if one were to wish to make ad hominem arguments, how to optimally do so, and when it might be appropriate

Figure 1

1 Level 0: Base rates

What rate do people mis-report at given who they are?

2 Level 1: Recursive ad hominem

3 Level 2: higher order recursion

4 Incoming

Al Prescott-Couch, in The differences between analytic and continental philosophy:

…the genetic fallacy is the purported mistaken inference from the historical origin of a thing to its value. And there are different versions of this supposed mistake, depending on what thing we’re evaluating. So let me give some examples and let’s take the example of belief. Let’s say when someone says, “Well, you should dismiss worries about inflation because they’re made by economists who are just shills for the rich.” Here, what we’re doing is we’re starting from a premise about where inflation comes from; they come from pro-business economists and we’re concluding that for that reason, these worries should be dismissed or not believed. So that’s one variant, but there are other variants as well. So let’s say we’re talking about an artifact. When someone says something like, “This painting is bad, because it was made by a racist.” Or when it comes to social policies, let’s say when someone says, “Well, we should be suspicious of big infrastructure bills because they come from Democrats, — or let’s say we’re looking for the baggage of the past—or because Hitler was also a fan of infrastructure.” So in these cases, what we’re doing is we’re using history to cast doubt on the value of something.