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Old 02-09-2013, 10:49 AM   #58
Prestidigitweeze
Fledgling Demagogue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
You also have to balance your idea of cost-effectiveness against usefulness in the real world... and not just for iPads... I use a tablet in lots of ways and locations that I wouldn't use a laptop. . . .
elcreative: This first bit isn't about you.

Lately, I've been dismayed by MR members who seem to have just looked up rhetorical fallacy on Wikipedia and now accuse everyone reflexively of using various kinds of fallacies -- all without understanding the specific cases in which terms like straw man argument and ad hominem actually apply.

In the most ridiculous instance I've seen on an MR thread, a member accused someone else falsely of ad hominem -- and then made ad hominem assertions about his opponent's use of ad hominem!

What's next -- shaving one's head in the process of condemning others for indulging in spurious baldness?

If I were playing that annoying game with you, I would accuse you of making a "straw man argument," but this is not a case of that. You're not knowingly attributing to me an argument I never made about a point I never raised, only to argue against it and attribute flaws in the argument to my reasoning. My insisting on that would itself be an attribution of false motives and assertions to you.

All you've done is respond in a friendly way to what I seem to you to be saying, and that is how people's opinions should be understood in a casual public discussion -- at face value.

The point of knowing about rhetorical fallacies is to avoid targeting opponents unfairly, not to imply, by way of unfair accusations, that one is more reasonable by comparison.

****

ShanghaiChica was talking about something far more specific than cost-effectiveness to each user. She was saying that the iPad 128GB was more "reasonable" than a laptop. In English usage, reasonable in the financial sense means less expensive.

Hence my mention of the advantages of a tablet as opposed to its price, and the careful distinction I made regarding this.

It's possible that SC is comparing the cost of the iPad 128GB to that of Apple laptops, in which case her statement would be absolutely correct. It's also possible she's using reasonable in a more idiosyncratic way than it would seem.

But because I am not privy to her inner thoughts and motives, and can only reply to what she has said outright, I have no choice but to conclude she is comparing the price of an iPad to that of a comparable laptop.

Hence my original differentiation between value and cost.

Obviously, the iPad 128GB is the better value for a person who does storage-intensive work on a tablet using software which is specific to iOS. Obviously, that isn't the only scenario in which value conditions cost-effectiveness.

But a device which is of value is not necessarily reasonable in price -- especially when it is being compared to another device (in this case, a laptop) on the basis of its price alone.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 02-09-2013 at 11:16 AM.
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