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I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Quidquid latine dictum, altum videtur.
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szaleniec1000 wrote in wrongworddammit
Or not. You see, though bringing the Latin can give people the impression that you're Smart™ or at the very least Educated™ and know what you're talking about, bringing the wrong Latin doesn't.

Argumentum ad hominem is a type of logical fallacy in which one attempts to disprove an argument by attacking its source. It isn't just a posh way of saying "personal attack", and for that matter isn't necessarily a personal attack at all. TVTropes puts it best:

"You're stupid, therefore your argument is invalid" is an ad hominem; "your argument is invalid, therefore you're stupid" (or "Your argument is invalid and you're stupid") is not.

And an insult in isolation certainly isn't. It doesn't take a Latin scholar to figure out that it's not an argumentum ad anything if there's no actual argument being presented. And in any case, there isn't even such a thing as an ad hominum.

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One of my favourite forum quotes is "I'm sure someone, somewhere is impressed by reductio ad absurdums, but you won't find them here."

Kind of sums up the whole place, really.

I don't speak a word of Latin, incidentally, but I do know formal logic.

Aaargh! Even if it was used in the proper context, "reductio ad absurdums" made my eyes bleed. D8

Why? Is it because of the s?

That, and the fact that it's pluralising the wrong word. It's effectively saying "reduction to the absurds" rather than "reductions to the absurd".

And yes, "reductio ad Hitlerum" is the best name for a fallacy ever. Not to mention a very useful one when it comes to heated internet debates. :)

And to think I'd only ever heard of Godwin's Law. Reductio ad Hitlerum is awesome!

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