Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Logical Fallacies II
So good, and so soon after my post on it. I figured it could do with an extra extension to the post instead of a comment on it. Maybe it is really more a variation called “ad feminam”? You judge.
A gender neutral translation of ad hominem is "to the person", ad feminam is gender-specific and describes attacks on women, as women, or because they are women.
So what am I talking about? I was commenting about economics on a post I said I thought:
“…It all seems so wonderfully technical and complicated where only really, really, clever economists and bankers and such can understand it all, but that is bs. If you can balance a household budget you can understand this stuff. For me it helps thinking in terms of a household budget.”
And someone called Mark came back at me:
“Oh my goodness. That is it. That is it.
Do you agree that it is helpful to think of the national economy in terms of a household budget, Tom?”
To his credit Tom replied with an instant “Yes”
So unless I am being paranoid and Mark really had some damascene moment because of my wonderful insight into economics ^_^ then I think his comment was at least an ad hominem put down to me, and because I had put economics in terms of balancing a household budget (housekeeping being often seen as more a feminine/home maker thing) maybe it was more ad feminam?
His attack does nothing to actually attack the validity of my argument. It attacks me. It seemed he just reflexively saw it as a stupid comment to relate the two. But I was arguing that… to put it all fancy… a household budget can be regarded as a microcosm of the national budget in the macro economic environment. Like a wave tank in a lab can tell you how a ship might manage in a storm..
If he felt I was wrong in some way he was perfectly at liberty to tell me how and why. I can only guess he thinks I see it far too simply and need a patronising pat on the head to send me on my way back to the kitchen sink or something.
In his world you probably need to be a really, really, clever (Keynesian?) economist to understand not maxing out your plastic.