General Question

flo's avatar

"What is the word for repeating the same thing, as a counter argument?

Asked by flo (13313points) February 13th, 2013

“Obfuscation” is when we use big words and jargon to willfully confuse the recipient of the information.

But in a debate with an audience, when we repeat something we already said, (in slightly different words) just to sound we gave a good comeback for the benefit of the audience is called what?

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16 Answers

Pachy's avatar

Tautology (rhetoric), using different words to say the same thing, or a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because they depend on the assumption that they are already correct

Pisces's avatar

Could it be called proof by assertion? Or argumentum ad nauseam?

flo's avatar

Thanks you two. Do you ever use a reverse dictionary? Is there one that you recommend?

CWOTUS's avatar

It sounds more like condescending speech. That is, in effect, “I’ve said it as simply as I can, maybe if I just say the same thing, but s-l-o-w-e-r and louder it will get through to you.”

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SavoirFaire's avatar

Like @Pisces said, this sounds like proof by assertion: just saying the same thing over and over again, regardless of contradiction, as if it proves the point. This is a common fallacy. It is often the purpose of repeating oneself over and over again to wait until contradictory arguments cease to be forthcoming. Repeating something until no one bothers to argue back and then declaring victory in virtue of outlasting the competition is the ad nauseam fallacy.

ETpro's avatar

Outside the field of debate, it’s called recursion. But as a logical fallacy I think proof by assertion hits close to the mark. When done till it simply wears out the opponent, it becomes argumentum ad nauseam. It is a form of tautology, but that’s probably a less precise word for it because tautology has additional and significantly different meanings as well.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Redundantly repetitive or tautology like @Pachyderm_In_The_Room said.

flo's avatar

Thank you all. What are the verb forms of those words, Obfuscation has a verb form but not tautology etc.

Pisces's avatar

There is also a simple verb for this: to persist in an argument.

susanc's avatar

In interactive pop psychology this is called the Broken Record. It often works.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@flo There aren’t verb forms of fallacy names like “argument by assertion” or ”argumentum ad nauseam,” but people speak of committing the argument by assertion fallacy or committing the argumentum ad nauseam fallacy.

@Pisces Persisting in an argument isn’t, by itself, fallacious or in any other way a bad thing. Saying that someone is persisting or persistent wouldn’t convey the attempt to wear down the other side.

Pisces's avatar

@SavoirFaire It seemed to me that @flo was specifically looking for a single word verb to best describe this type of argument. She used the example “obfuscate” in the original post, and requested verb forms of proof by assertion and argumentum ad nauseam in a later post.

@flo looked for a way to describe ”when we repeat something we already said, (in slightly different words)…” I think “persist” is a passable single word definition for this.

Admittedly, to persist in an argument is not necessarily a bad thing. But to persist in an argument by constant repetition is not good.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Pisces I understand, but I think we must sometimes accept that there is no single word solution and introduce an adverb for clarification. Here we might just have to say that those who engage in the ad nauseam fallacy do not merely persist, but obstinately persist. It seems to me that we need something with a negative connotation to properly convey our meaning here. “Persist” is probably closest, as far as one word answers go; but it is not, I think, close enough.

flo's avatar

Yes, also, “Persist” can be used for any kind of activity like “Persist in using spanking to dicipline the chid” etc.

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