Rabulism (from the Latin rabere " toben " or rabula "screeching advocate") is a derogatory term in educational language for rhetorical "quibbles" or " quibbling ". According to Duden, a rabulist is someone who “argues in a subtle, petty, opinionated manner and often twists the real facts”.
Rabulism serves to be right in a discussion regardless of the correctness of one's own position. This is achieved through sophisms , hidden fallacies and other rhetorical tricks such as the introduction of non-discussion aspects, semantic shifts, etc. The boundaries to deception, misleading and lying are fluid. Rabulism can be viewed as an abusive branch of eristics or rhetoric .
In doing so, rhetorical and argumentative techniques are used in order to get right - regardless of or even against the situation, e.g. B. by means of “twisting words” and “splitting hairs”, or by constantly piling up new arguments. The ancient sophists were used as role models, who carried out disputes professionally regardless of their personal convictions and allegedly attached more importance to argumentative success than to consistency or truth. In his textbook on the history of philosophy in 1912 , Wilhelm Windelband accused the later sophists of becoming “spokesmen for all the rampant tendencies” with their “self-indulgent rabidism in their advocacy” and thus “undermining the order of public life”.
Even in the older literature of jurisprudence, rabulism is used for subtleties or an absurd argumentation or an argument that follows the letter but not the spirit of the law. For example, in 1856 in Herders Conversations-Lexikon a "legal twister, vicious advocate " was defined as a rabulist , and by Johann Christoph Adelung in 1798 as:
"[...] a talkative and dabey ränkvoller advocate who knows how to turn the spirit of the law after his advantages; a tongue thresher. Hence the rabulisterey, wicked loquacity. It is from the middle lat. make rabid, much empty shouting in court, which is again from the Lat. Rabula, a tongue thruster, rabulist, descends. [...] "
- Rabulistik , duden.de, accessed on July 13, 2012
- Rabulist duden.de, accessed on June 13, 2012
- Wilhelm Windelband: Textbook of the history of philosophy. Tübingen 1912, pp. 54-59 ( online , Zeno.org , accessed July 14, 2012).
- Herder's Conversations Lexicon. Volume 4, Freiburg im Breisgau 1856, p. 654 ( online , Zeno.org, accessed on June 14, 2012).
- Adelung, Grammar-Critical Dictionary of High German Dialect , Volume 3. Leipzig 1798, p. 906 ( online , Zeno.org, accessed on July 14, 2012).