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Re: Summary of the debian-devel BoF at Debconf9

"Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> writes:

> * Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> [090818 11:28]:
> > Perhaps you have a better way of succinct terms to use when
> > challenging those logical fallacies?
> I think succinct terms help not at all here. Once there is a succinct
> term 90% of their use is name-calling.

You apparently perceive these terms in a very strange way. These terms
refer to *arguments*, or points made within them; an argument is not the
person who made it. They're not “name-calling” in any sense except the
tautological (they name a thing).

> If people think something is wrong they should say what is wrong and
> not invoce some name.

Your distinction is lost on me; pointing out that someone has presented
a logical fallacy *is* saying what is wrong. That we have succinct
labels with well-established meanings serves to more quickly communicate
what is wrong, which I would think is pleasing to you.

To point out what is wrong *without* using the well-known terms for
common fallacies surely leads to more volume of discussion devoted to
that, which is what I thought you were trying to avoid.

> But I think it would much help if the replies on the lists itself are
> about the topic, and not diverting into what are valid or invalid
> forms to produce arguments.

As Manoj has pointed out (better than I did earlier), to *name* a
fallacious argument is merely to point out clearly that the discussion
has *already* gone off-topic, and is best interpreted as a request that
the off-topic digression be terminated quickly.

> And really, if some logical conclusion is so broken that this
> brokeness has its own name, then everybody should be able to see it.

Not at all. The fact that these fallacies are so common is intricately
linked to the fact that it's usually difficult to recognise them without
conscious effort.

> I guess that is a reason why those "succinct" terms are so often used
> to throw them againt people like names-calling.

I think your guess is wrong.

 \       “Know what I hate most? Rhetorical questions.” —Henry N. Camp |
  `\                                                                   |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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