Re: [OPE-L] Fwd: [PEN-L] an ad hominem response

From: Christopher Arthur (arthurcj@WAITROSE.COM)
Date: Sat Apr 15 2006 - 11:20:58 EDT

I think it is very simple - the ad hominem argument is one designed to
appeal to people's sensitivities, as opposed to strict logic. It is of
course frequently used when there is no good logical argument but there
may be. Marx is saying even if you don't follow my logic the facts
themselves cry out that there is something amiss.
On 15 Apr 2006, at 14:25, michael a. lebowitz wrote:

> At 20:15 14/04/2006, Hans wrote:
>> Here is another conjecture: Perhaps "argumentum ad hominem"
>> is meant in contradistinction to "immanent critique"?
> snip. re CAPITAL
>> I.e., in addition to Marx's immanent critique, which shows
>> the inherent contradictions of capitalism, this additional
>> material also shows that capitalism is inhumane, bad for
>> people.
> snip. re the censors
>> I.e., the illegal activity of the censors is not a direct
>> proof that censorship itself is wrong, but it is an indirect
>> critique by showing what kinds of people are involved in it.
> snip. re theory grasping the mind
>> If my conjecture is right, this means: a radical critique is
>> not an immanent critique, i.e., not a critique which looks
>> at the thing itself on its own terms, but one which looks at
>> the *root* of the things, which for humans means, it looks
>> at the implications of the things for humans.
> Very interesting, Hans. I wonder if we are not saying the same thing
> but coming at it from our own philosophical/critical readings. What
> you are designating as 'in contradistinction to "immanent critique"',
> I am distinguishing from a logical argument. Ie., that only an inner,
> logical argument can demonstrate 'necessity' whereas an empiricist
> account can suggest probability but not necessity. Thus, that
> 'additional material' would not prove that capitalism MUST be
> inhumane, the experience of the censors cannot prove that  censors
> must act the way they did and the masses (as distinct from
> philosophers?) need the demonstration of the exoteric. In this
> respect, the ad hominem argument is important for the purpose of
> convincing people but, Marx's use of the term 'ad hominem' (with its
> negative connotations) may reflect the perspective that an exoteric,
> argument by reference to empirical events, is in itself logically
> fallacious. This position has philosophical antecedents (Hegel
> certainly but going back at least to Hume).
>         in solidarity,
>         michael
> Michael A. Lebowitz
> Professor Emeritus
> Economics Department
> Simon Fraser University
> Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
> Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
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> Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
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