Odious and Peculiar

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Monday, May 03, 2010
Some rather--unusual--fallacies over at Siris.
Argumentum fistulatorium means, roughly, 'argument by piping'. Ad verecundiam, ex absurdo, and ex Fortiori are, respectively, argument from authority, from the absurdity of the position, and from the truth of a stronger conclusion. They would have been found in real lists of argument-types at the time. All the rest are jokes, but argumentum baculinum was an old one by Sterne's time; it occurs when you resolve an argument by beating your opponent with a club or a stick.
I'm not sure that the baculinum is always a fallacy, however; there are obviously times (for example, if your interlocuter argues that you are incapable of striking him) when it answers quite well; and in any case no less a philosopher than Duns Scotus employs it in his Ordinatio:
And so too, those who deny that some being is contigent should be exposed to torments until they concede that it is possible for them not to be tormented.
Both understandable and effective, I imagine. The Scotch, of course, were noted for combining the fistulatorium and baculinum with great success.

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Duns Scotus does have his appeal, doesn't he? Of course, St. Nicholas is said to have used baculinum to excellent effect on Arius. (Does it still count if he didn't actually use a cudgel? One would hate to set aside such a logical maneuver just because no implement was to hand.)
I hope so, since otherwise I suppose the Subtle Doctor would need to limit himself to bastinado. Someone (else, not me) should make a list of Cudgeling Saints.
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