Hierarchy of disagreement
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Logic and rhetoric
The hierarchy of disagreement is a concept proposed by computer scientist Paul Graham in his 2008 essay How to Disagree. Graham's hierarchy has seven levels, from name calling 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.").