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The psychiatrization of the opponent in polemical context

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Abstract

A variant of the <i>ad hominem</i> argument amounts to challenging the opponent&#8217;s mental health. Semi-technical designations borrowed from psychiatric paradigms (such as <i>autistic, paranoiac, hysterical</i>) are thus appealed to in order to qualify the opponent. Based on three examples from polemical discussions on political issues, we investigate what kind of behaviour triggers such accusations, how they are justified, and how they are handled by the speaker to whom they are addressed.

References

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