Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Oh Yeah, Well Your Argument is a Tu Quoque, Too!

This from Instapundit is pretty funny.

Shorter Instapundit:
The fact that Hilary Clinton kept some things secret means that her criticisms of the pervasive and unprecedented secretiveness of this administration should be discounted. Also: Cheney's whole problem with this shooting incident is that he's being too secretive.

Insty's not as bad as some folks say, but every now and then he sure does produce a gem.


Blogger rilkefan said...

Instapundit shredded. Then the shreds shredded.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gots ta take issue with ya there, 'Raptor. 'Insty' is too as bad as some folks say.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

What is the difference between committing the tu quoque fallacy and charging someone with hypocrisy?

Because when Reynolds writes about "Hillary Clinton complaining about this Administration's secretiveness, as if we'd forgotten the health care task force, the Rose Law Firm billing records, etc.," he seems to be saying, "Hillary, where do you get off condemning Cheney for something you shamelessly did yourself?"

And by further saying that Cheney screwed up bigtime in this matter, he seems to be purposely avoiding the tu quoque fallacy by putting a pox on every house in sight.

Perhaps I misread the original post as sarcasm instead of a well-deserved pat on the back for a thorough fisking of all parties involved. If so, my apology. These are trying times, and I'm not liking much of what I hear on this today from anybody, with the exception of Reynolds.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Jimmy Doyle? THE Jimmy Doyle of philosophy fame?

Actually I think that *tu quoque*s are way complicated, in part because of the vagueness of the fallacy, in part because of the vagueness of what's usually being asserted when the charge is made, and so forth. If the charge is just hypocrisy, then it's not a fallacy, though it may be false or unfair. In this case I'm rather inclined to find the charge pretty risible, given the pervasive and pernicious secrecy of this admin. The quantity and quality of lies is usually thought to be relevant in cases of this kind. The fact that I'm not always 100% honest doesn't seem to entail that I'm a hypocrite when I point out that John Smith is a pathological liar. So, if Reynolds isn't commiting a fallacy here--and he might not be--then he's making a fairly laughable charge of hypocrisy against HC.

Anyway, the really funny part to my mind is that he then goes on to agree with HC. So if he DID intend to suggest that HC's criticisms were somehow unjustified b/c there were facts she didn't disclose, it's funny that he then went on to confirm her claim.

Actually, now that I write all that I'm inclined to agree with you that it's more likely to be a charge of hypocrisy than a *tu quoque*.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston and Tom,

I think that hypocrisy is a much more personally discrete charge; the premise is simply that one professes beliefs which are belied by his actions.

I therefore think that tu quoque arguments are a subset, or specific example, of hypocrisy. A justified charge of hypocrisy does not require that the accused have criticized someone else in the past for similar behavior (tu quoque). It merely requires that the person's words and actions don't align. "Do as I say, not as I do" comes to mind as a tag line.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I've had trouble with the simple "do as I say, not as I do" as a blanket definition of hypocrisy.

We all (most of us) have standards that, being human, we don't always meet. Under the above definition, we're all hypocrites at some point.

Perhaps that's sufficient.

But I require someone actively condemning others, and on a personal level, for not meeting standards that we ourselves don't even hold, or hold ourselves to.

I guess I have a higher standard for hypocrisy. I don't get much of a thrill at throwing that charge around.

6:30 PM  

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