- Feb 2013
- Coastal Florida
The line you referred to has to do with methods of debate. While it may not be logically fallacious to refer to a person, it can sometimes result in someone claiming you've insulted them by doing so. To avoid this, it's often said that arguments should be directed at expressed views and actions rather than the persons who generate them. I agree with this. However, any argument about a view or action entails material consequences, particularly that a person who produced the view or action will meet the definition of a person who is defined as producing views matching your argument. For instance, if someone claims 2+2=5 and I say he gave the wrong answer, he might claim I called him a "wrong answer giver" because he didn't like hearing my argument concerning his expressed view. In the vast majority of cases, this won't be a problem because a dentist likely won't mind hearing an argument claiming his work is an example of dentistry and a speaker is probably not going to mind hearing arguments claiming his spoken words comprise a speech. In the case of the "wrong answer giver", other people would probably not entertain claims that he's been insulted because "wrong answer giver" has never typically been used as an insult and he did, in fact, give a wrong answer, as it's mathematically impossible for 2+2 to ever equal 5, regardless of radix when using standard numeration symbols [i.e. radix(2): numeral 2 doesn't exist; radix(3): 2+2=11; radix(4): 2+2=10; radix(>4): 2+2=4 in every case].I do not get the Bold part, could you elaborate ?
it could change my question about the underlined part but "we are not communicating anymore" , my dictionary says "Bigot is a person intolerant of ideas different from their own" , that is how I read this definition to mean anyway.
Definition of BIGOT
It's also possible you could be dealing with an argument which describes an expressed view but a material consequence is that the speaker would meet the definition of a noun that's typically used as an insult or pejorative term, which we can verify by consulting what seems to be the only objective extant sources which are capable of answering this question (i.e. the lexicographical corpus). For example, arguing that an expressed view is an example of bitchery would meet this criteria as we have evidence demonstrating the term bitch is generalized as an insulting or pejorative term, and has been for centuries. Even though this would also be an example of an argument concerning an idea rather than a person, I think one could make a reasonable case that this could be considered insulting or pejorative. Finally, we have the seemingly rarest class, the one to which the term bigotry belongs. This class seems to involve a very vocal, but semantically insignificant (overall), minority group attempting to have this term removed from what we might consider the reasonable domain of discourse by unilaterally imposing a political agenda consisting of prejudicial, dogmatic claims that this term has been generalized as an insult or pejorative term when no objective evidence appears to exist in support of those claims. It seems to me the people pursuing this political agenda merely don't like hearing this term and support their claims by relying only on personal and unfounded political opinions in an apparent effort to impose their agenda on everyone else around them. In my opinion, the degree to which they've succeeded in imposing this political agenda over the years is the reason why a relatively small segment of the population is confused about what bigotry is and can't recognize it when it smacks them in the face or arises in their own minds.
I used to be one of these people. I was raised in a southern family in which bigotry was ubiquitous and I was indoctrinated with it. Even after I thought I got a handle on it many years later, some great friends pointed out errors of ideation still remaining within my mind concerning it. As a result, I spent a great deal of time in self-reflection and studying the topic. Mostly, I was interested in its political and social history. However, historical lexicography is another interest of mine. So, the two have since been combined and I've searched for the meaning of this term in probably hundreds of dictionaries. As far as general purpose dictionaries go, the development of the definition has been rather stagnant. Before the 17th century, we really have no substantial, reliable evidence of how the term was generally used and, as far as I've been able to discern, real dictionaries which would include this term didn't exist until around the turn of that century. As the term presents in the first generation of real english & french dictionaries, we know the term itself predates what we might consider modern lexicography. However, the general outline of its origin appears pretty clear. The term seems to have arisen within or near France during the long period of religious conflict which culminated in the Reformation. Fittingly, the term was essentially defined as what we would recognize as intolerance predicated upon religious dogma & hypocrisy in the first generation of English & French dictionaries. For example, see Randle Cottgrave's 1611 bilingual dictionary, the earliest English dictionary in which I've verified the presence of the term:
However, it wasn't long before it lost it's exclusively religious context. As secular thought developed, the definition changed to basically what we have today. For instance, see Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary:Bigotie; or, Bigotise: f. Hypocrisie; Superstition, too much curiositie, or scruple of conscience.
And also two editions of Nathan Bailey's 18th century dictionary to see other variations and the degree of change within the entry (3rd and 20th editions, respectively):Bigotry. n. f.
Blind zeal; prejudice; unreasonable warmth in favor of party or opinions
BIGOTTED, become a bigot, zealously and obstinately adhering to a party or principle of religion
BIGOTTISM, a stiff adherence to a party or opinion, though without or against reason
All the way up to the present day, it doesn't really make any difference which dictionary you consult. The definitions seem to all draw from the same semantic well with a lot of recycling of the phrases and terminology from one dictionary to another. Many provide more specific examples like those above and others, particularly some of the more modern examples like the one you cited, provide a simpler definition which easily and logically encompasses all of the earlier ones.BIGOTTED
BIGOTTISM } Superstition, Hypocrisy, a fond and obstinate adhering to a Man's own Opinions and Humours
To my knowledge, the creators of the lexicographical corpus possess the only objective means in existence to realistically discern and record how words are usually or normally used. We have genres of dictionaries which record insults as well as usage dictionaries which record significant semantic controversies (disagreements over how words are used). To date, none, to my knowledge, support the notion that this term has ever been generalized as an insult or pejorative term. There is also no evidence whatsoever that the "vocal minority" I mentioned above has ever grown prominent enough within the overall society to have their political agenda immortalized in a dictionary and their dogmatic beliefs about the meaning of the term bigotry recognized by any competent body or organization as "normal" or "typical" usage. Heck, it doesn't seem that dictionaries recording either insults or semantic controversies have even recorded the term at all. Considering the extensive range of evidence I've consulted which speaks directly to this question, I feel comfortable resting my conclusion regarding this matter upon objective evidence consisting of the entire English lexicographical corpus spanning the last 400 years, including any dictionary sitting on your or anyone else's bookshelf that I haven't had the opportunity to consult. If you or anyone else has any objective evidence which contradicts the scope and breadth of my conclusions, I'm very interested in seeing it and I'm perfectly willing to consider changing my position if new objective evidence is brought to my attention.