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Robert

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Robert


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fallacy
reductio ad hitlerum
Sun, Nov 20, 2016 - 04:43 PM

How to Handle Reductio ad Hitlerum

I see the Reductio Ad Hillerum fallacy (Nazi card) being played often these days. It makes the discussion more difficult, as I honestly can understand the concern, that there may be an affront on liberal democracy, their point, but using this argument takes it to an extreme, and tends to alienate immediately and diminish the exchange. If I counter, trying to indicate the desperate tone they seem to present, they seem even more defensive. Conversation these days seems more and more challenging, even among friends, and can easily degrade to argument. Any pointers on how to ease these discussions.


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

I am the host of this show :) For my complete bio, please see http://www.bobennett.com.
PrintSun, Nov 20, 2016 - 05:19 PM
The Reductio ad Hitlerum is quite common these days. The big question is, how much like Hitler or the Nazi party does someone/something have to be before we can call it a reasonable analogy? Let's not forget the reason why Hitler is so despised... it's not because of his politics, his prejudice, or his mustache; it is because of his actions. There are very few people in history that could reasonably be compared to Hitler, so I would avoid comparing anyone to Hitler. But what if others do?

The ad Hitlerum is an emotional argument that is used to attempt to associate someone with the evil of Hitler. To counter this fallacy, use emotion right back. Remind the person using the fallacy that Hitler is responsible for the genocide of 6 million Jews, "and you think X is like Hitler because of Y? Is the murder of 6 million Jews really that insignificant to you that you fail to see the stark difference between X and Hitler?" (silence)

Sometimes, emotional arguments, even if not completely logical, work far better on those who don't appreciate logic and reason enough to see the flaws in their arguments. This technique seems to help mitigate the backfire effect (i.e., becoming more defensive).

Good luck!

Bo Bennett, PhD
My Latest Book: https://www.uncomfortable-ideas.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedrboshow/
About Me: http://www.bobennett.com


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