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Kunstgriff 16

Argumenta ad hominem oder ex concessis. Bei einer Behauptung des Gegners müssen wir suchen, ob sie nicht etwa irgendwie, nötigenfalls auch nur scheinbar, im Widerspruch steht mit irgend etwas, das er früher gesagt oder zugegeben hat, oder mit den Satzungen einer Schule oder Sekte, die er gelobt und gebilligt hat, oder mit dem Tun der Anhänger dieser Sekte, oder auch nur der unechten und scheinbaren Anhänger, oder mit seinem eignen Tun und Lassen. Verteidigt er z. B. den Selbstmord, so schreit man gleich »warum hängst du dich nicht auf?« Oder er behauptet z. B., Berlin sei ein unangenehmer Aufenthalt: gleich schreit man: »warum fährst du nicht gleich mit der ersten Schnellpost ab?«

Es wird sich doch irgendwie eine Schikane herausklauben lassen.


Stratagem XVI

Another trick is to use arguments ad hominem, or ex concessis.14 When your opponent makes a proposition, you must try to see whether it is not in some way - if needs be, only apparently - inconsistent with some other proposition which he has made or admitted, or with the principles of a school or sect which he has commended and approved, or with the actions of those who support the sect, or else of those who give it only an apparent and spurious support; or with his own actions or want of action. For example, should he defend suicide, you may at once exclaim, "Why don't you hang yourself?" Should he maintain that Berlin is an unpleasant place to live in, you may say, "Why don't you leave by the first train?" Some such claptrap is always possible.

14.) The truth from which I draw my proof may be either (1) of an objective and universally valid character; in that case my proof is veracious, secundum veritatem; and it is such proof alone that has any genuine validity. Or (2) it may be valid only for the person to whom I wish to prove my proposition, and with whom I am disputing. He has, that is to say, either taken up some position once for all as a prejudice, or hastily admitted it in the course of the dispute; and on this I ground my proof. In that case, it is a proof valid only for this particular man, ad hominem. I compel my opponent to grant my proposition, but I fail to establish it as a truth of universal validity. My proof avails for my opponent alone, but for no one else. For example, if my opponent is a devotee of Kant's, and I ground my proof on some utterance of that philosopher, it is a proof which in itself is only ad hominem. If he is a Mohammedan, I may prove my point by reference to a passage in the Koran, and that is sufficient for him; but here it is only a proof ad hominem.

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