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Old 08-23-2018, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

are insults true?

can insults be relevant to arguments?

how is an insult different than a personal attack?

consider:
you're fat
how does this differ from
your BMI indicates you're morbidly obese
when both can be saying the same thing?

or, take this:
A: you're unreliable
B: you have missed rent three times this year, and flaked on plans several times.
it seems that, for every insult, e.g.
"you're stupid"
this can just be expanded on, to e.g.
"you're stupid" --> "you're being stupid" --> "you're being thoughtless" --> "you have not given this issue due diligence"
few people would consider "you have not given this issue due thought" an insult, but "you're stupid" is almost always considered one.

where do you draw the line for insults?

what is an insult to you?

Last edited by Arch0wl; 08-23-2018 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 08-23-2018, 04:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

I don't usually post in Critical Thinking but here we go.

Insults can be both true and false, but whether it's classified as a personal attack, an insult, or truth in my opinion depends on how informatively or derogatorily it is delivered. It also depends on how insecure someone is to receive such information as well. Some people can shrug it off as "Yes, I know I'm fat. Can't do much about it because of xxxxx/not number one on my list as of right now" or take it offensively as "BMI is a myth, how dare you say I'm morbidly obese I'm going to live another 50 years I aint dying anytime soon you are off your rockers mate".

Personally, I draw the line at when it goes from informative information from an outside perspective, to intentionally derogative to either inflict mental harm, or to damage reputation/character and the opinion of you from others. I would be okay with people acting in a derogative manner towards me, as long as it stays informative and there's some level of acknowledgment prior, or after that they didn't have the best choice of words.
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch0wl View Post
where do you draw the line for insults?

what is an insult to you?
The former is relevant because you ask for personal, subjective content.

The latter isn't because you're basically asking people to define "insult" the way they want, which leads to nothing unless you actually want to redefine the word.
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Old 08-23-2018, 05:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

To be receptive to insults implies that one has an emotional soft spot. Insults cause people to try harder, either to change or assert themselves. At the moment of insult there's a reaction that is usually kinda uncomfortable.
Theoretically, the insult and the reaction could be independent of each other and coincidental, which is what I like to believe, because I hold being different in the highest regard.
Often to give an insult implies that you are, in fact, insecure, even if your heart's in the right place.
Even the maddest situation, when one deserves insult and is a problem or nuisance, can be attributed to coincidence. A buildup of brain chemicals in this increasingly kooky world. An example would be, let's say, if someone bogarted all your Doritos when you left the room and now you seek vengeance. Why my friend? Flesher's theorum clearly states that the social world is purely divine and the Dorito's aren't actually Doritos.
I hope you found this interesting and remember that all things good and evil are real.
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

A personal attack is to criticize without reason. an insult is to take offense.
Truth follows reason.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
consider:
you're fat
how does this differ from
your BMI indicates you're morbidly obese
when both can be saying the same thing?
When you're offered both from a random person on the street who intends to make you feel bad/guilty/negative about your weight? There is no difference. They are both insults, and they are both personal attacks because the insults are about something to do with the person themselves.

When you're offered both from a doctor that you went to see to evaluate your overall physical health including your weight? The former is certainly delivered without tact, and they are maybe being insensitive, but since you -asked for information on that subject- from somebody -qualified to give it- it stops being insulting.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

I think something like "you're an ass" would be an insult.

"You stopped emotionally developing in middle school" rides the line between insult and informative.

And "get a therapist" is just good advice.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoJaR View Post
And "get a therapist" is just good advice.
Not if 0 legit reasoning can be brought up.

Get a life

Vs

Get a life, you dont work, you're in good shape and not mentally ill. Do something productive.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Here's a personal attack fuk u archowl more like barn owl cuz u STINK
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Also most people know they're fat as fuck u don't gotta rub it in

Edit: in serious it's simply the motive - insulting someone is just taking an aspect of them you find negative and using it to cause guilt, so ya

Last edited by komochii; 08-23-2018 at 07:26 PM..
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:47 AM   #11
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch0wl View Post
you're fat
how does this differ from
your BMI indicates you're morbidly obese
when both can be saying the same thing?
read: denotation vs connotation
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

In early cultures, being fat was a sign of nobility. A show that one could afford more food than they needed was expressive of the status quo
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Old 08-24-2018, 12:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

We may have better technology and medicine, but we're no more or less human now than we were then.
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Old 08-24-2018, 01:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

I'm surprised no one just said: "the intentions".
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:22 PM   #15
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

This topic of discussion is inane. An insult can be an untrue statement and furthermore can even be totally irrelevant to truth. Example: "fuck you" is an insult which is totally unconcerned with truth. "You're fat" or "you're a piece of shit" still counts as an insult even if it's untrue.

Also, "You're fat" vs "your BMI etc" are really different if you spend even one second barely thinking about it. The second statement includes a step in logic, uses BMI, and morbidly obese is a different concept from being fat. However they can both be either insulting or not, it depends on the purpose.

Come on, if you gave this even one second of thought you would have realized this. The differences are very obvious.

Last edited by notmclaren; 08-24-2018 at 05:31 PM..
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by devonin View Post
When you're offered both from a random person on the street who intends to make you feel bad/guilty/negative about your weight? There is no difference. They are both insults, and they are both personal attacks because the insults are about something to do with the person themselves.
this doesn't seem good enough to me, because imagine this scenario:

A: I am not trying to insult you. your BMI indicates you're morbidly obese.
B: yes you are!
A: no I'm not
[repeat]

how, exactly, do you prove intent here beyond just stating what your intent is? I don't think it's possible.

in this scenario, there's no way for B to know A's intent. the person hearing the remark just has to have some vague feeling of whether there's an insult or not. but this doesn't actually make it one.

it seems like to say something is an insult or personal attack you have to be able to point to information about the sentence that makes it one and that indicates intent.

"you're 150lb" is completely neutral without context -- it could be weight loss for one person or weight gain for another person. whether it's an insult or not depends on how the person interprets the information, but the claim itself is not inherently insulting.

so e.g. "you're a fucking idiot" would be a clear insult, but "you're thoughtless" is very possibly not.

the factor for me seems to be the counterfactual. there is a better, less biased version of "you're a fucking idiot", like "you're being thoughtless", but there isn't really any way to say "you're being thoughtless" more accurately without merely telling someone something about themselves that they don't want to hear.
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch0wl View Post
this doesn't seem good enough to me, because imagine this scenario:

A: I am not trying to insult you. your BMI indicates you're morbidly obese.
B: yes you are!
A: no I'm not
[repeat]

how, exactly, do you prove intent here beyond just stating what your intent is? I don't think it's possible.
it's pretty obvious what the intent is if this scenario occurs in a doctor's office
it's also pretty obvious what the intent is if this scenario occurs on the streets of new york city
exception: literal autism
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

what you are doing is giving the two most extreme circumstances, and saying that due to these extreme circumstances, there can't be any ambiguity as to intent, and that people who see ambiguity are autistic or something. that's clearly false.

many if not most comments between people about themselves or their actions will be situations without such clear-cut extremeties as an unprovoked street remark and a doctor's office, so that doesn't help resolve the ambiguity.
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Why does person A feel they have any business commenting on person B's weight in the first place? How do they have access to person B's BMI?

What we're talking about is a random stranger saying "Not an insult BUT" and then saying something none of their business about another person personally, outside any setting where that is a reasonable interaction to assume the other party wants to have.

The other problem with your example is that we don't have Person A's motive. They saying "No I'm not" is meaningless if they actually are, and just lying defensively.

Sure Person -B- won't have their true motive to hand necessarily in the actual interaction, but you invented both of these people so tell me, why does Person A think an appropriate thing to say to Person B out of nowhere is a comment on their being morbidly obese?

Last edited by devonin; 08-24-2018 at 08:42 PM..
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: what's the difference between a personal attack, an insult, and a true statement

Arch idk if you realize this but you're basically asking for a solution to the unsolved problem that is pragmatics analysis in natural language processing. If we could prove the intent of someone by simply analysing the language (syntax, vocabulary, etc) we'd revolutionize that whole field. So yeah, you use context to infer intentions that hopefully the receiver will understand, and if they dont believe your intentions after you explicitely mentionned them, then something else needs to happen (stop the discussion, try to convince, rephrase your message, etc).

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