Let me give you an example. Two people are having a debate on the internet (surprise, surprise). Person A and Person B go back and forth a few times. Person B catches Person A in a fallacy. Instead of addressing the point, Person A respond with something along the lines of "not even going to bother to read this" in an attempt to dismiss the argument without addressing it at all.

Is there a word or expression for this?

  • 3
    Isn't dismissing an argument without addressing the points dismissing it? Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 0:54
  • The (nice) word you are looking for is "jerk." I am not being flip. The only people who do what you describe are jerks. (The assumption here is that the fallacy is real and B has found it in good faith.) There's no special word for what A is doing, but you didn't ask for a word for that. You asked for a word for A. If "jerk" is too tame - it is for me - I'd say "A" is a good start.
    – remarkl
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 4:17

2 Answers 2


to scoff at someone or something TFD

to show ridicule or scorn for someone or something.

As in"

The directors scoffed at her when she presented her argument.


In the context of logical argumentation, they move from being a Logician or a Philosopher to a Rhetorician, a Sophist, or just an Antagonist depending on their goal being dismissive.

Regardless, if you have caught someone in a contradiction in a logical debate and you call it out, the argument is over - if the situation requires them to look or read something because you tell them they have contradicted themselves...and all they need to do is look; refusal is tantamount to them looking and recognizing the contradiction. They are a Sophist, a Brigand, or the Loser of a Debate by Default.

If they dismiss the contradiction without even addressing it, yet aggressively push the argument forward, they are the Loser by Default, but they are also an Antagonist or an Oppugner (this is rooted the same as a Pugilist; therefore, although not widely used, I think it is an apt term).

But if the debate doesn't end once they've contradicted themselves, you essentially have the green light to counter with anything, including an ad hominem attack, because, logically, anything follows from reductio ad absurdum. It might be out of poor taste to do this, but that depends on context.

For example, if you're debating someone in prison who dismisses the contradiction and begins aggressively arguing forward, you can't just walk away because you won. That makes you a punk; and nobody wants to be a punk in prison - so in this case, to prove a point, you are released from the rules of logic and should hammer away.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.