Dismissive statement

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A dismissive statement is any statement which negates the value of an opposing argument without actually addressing any of its substance.

Although it is not actually a valid form of argument, it is frequently phrased in such a way that it might be mistaken for one; this usage is a form of rhetorical deception.

Argument by collective dismissal is an especially severe form of this, in which multiple points are dismissed as a group without any of them being addressed.


  • argument from irrelevance: "I don't see how that's relevant." when the original argument has specifically named one or more points of relevance
  • argument from unimportance: "There are more important things to worry about."
  • argument by contradiction: "No, you're wrong." "I don't accept that hypothesis."
  • argument from overabundance: "You have too many points, I can't address them all." -- so I'm not going to address any of them.
  • argument from subjectivity: "This is a matter regarding which there is no objective resolution, therefore any conclusions you might reach by objective reasoning from this statement are invalid, regardless of how much evidence you might present to support it."

Real-world Usage

  • "We don't find any persuasive, affirmative evidence that this is true.", when in fact evidence has been presented. (Philip Zelikow)


Possibly this is a form of incomplete argument. Are there other types, or does "incomplete argument" generally boil down to "dismissal"?