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Hierarchy of disagreement

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The hierarchy of disagreement.
Part of the series on
Logic and rhetoric
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General logic
Bad logic

The hierarchy of disagreement is a concept proposed by computer scientist Paul GrahamWikipedia's W.svg in his 2008 essay How to Disagree.[1] Graham's hierarchy has seven levels, from name callingWikipedia's W.svg to "Refuting the central point". According to Graham, most disagreements come on one of seven levels:

  • 1: Refuting the central point (explicitly refutes the central point).
  • 2: Refutation (finds the mistake and explains why it's mistaken using quotes).
  • 3: Counterargument (contradicts and then backs it up with reasoning and/or supporting evidence).
  • 4: Contradiction (states the opposing case with little or no supporting evidence).
  • 5: Responding to tone (criticizes the tone of the writing without addressing the substance of the argument.
  • 6: Ad Hominem (attacks the characteristics or authority of the writer without addressing the substance of the argument).
  • 7: Name-calling (sounds something like, "You are an idiot.").