A Pragma-Dialectical Study of Personal Attack in China-Related Letters to the Editorof The New York Times
Keywords:Letters to the Editor, The New York Times, Pragma-Dialectics, personal attack.
This article under the research framework
of pragma-dialectics, analyses the use of personal
attacks in the China-related Letters to the
Editor of The New York Times, and evaluates its
reasonableness. The research results show that
the personal attacks in the China-related Letters
to the Editor of The New York Times can be
mainly classified into three subtypes: the abusive
variant (insult others), the circumstantial variant
(suspect motives) and the tu quoque (you also).
Both reasonable and unreasonable use of personal
attack are identified. The unreasonable use of
personal attack is mainly caused by: (1) the use
of personal attack prevents the opponents from
casting doubts or proposing his or her
standpoint; (2) the use of personal attack has
deficiency or even is invalid in logic, failing in
the examination of critical questions. On
account of this, the related discourse subjects
in similar kind of discourse practice, should: (1)
design their arguments reasonably according to
the code of conduct of critical discussion (Ten
Commandments); (2) consider the audience as
an extremely rigor one, making sure that the
argument can pass any critical examination,
and so the rational and responsible figure of the
proponents can be guaranteed.
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Copyright (c) 2017 Lu Pinchao
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