Article published in:Scrutinizing Argumentation in Practice
Edited by Frans H. van Eemeren and Bart Garssen
[Argumentation in Context 9] 2015
► pp. 217–232
The psychiatrization of the opponent in polemical context
A variant of the ad hominem argument amounts to challenging the opponent’s mental health. Semi-technical designations borrowed from psychiatric paradigms (such as autistic, paranoiac, hysterical) are thus appealed to in order to qualify the opponent. Based on three examples from polemical discussions on political issues, we investigate what kind of behaviour triggers such accusations, how they are justified, and how they are handled by the speaker to whom they are addressed.
Keywords: ad hominem argument, disqualifying strategy, mental pathology
Published online: 30 October 2015