Focusing on minor details

You have a discussion in which you make numerous points and your interlocutor responds by ignoring pretty much all your points, instead singling out a minor detail which wasn't really germane and this responding to this at length. Is there a name for this?

asked on Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 06:46:11 AM by Bryan

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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus writes:

If someone does this to you, try to drag the conversation back to what it is supposed to be about. If they insist on quibbling, then you're dealing with someone who might not be worth your time. 

posted on Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 12:56:09 PM

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Jason Mathias

Sounds like he Cherry Picked one of your points and then made a Red Herring  out of it which Avoided the Issue

answered on Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 08:07:40 AM by Jason Mathias

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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus

This is hair splitting, a form of Red Herring where the person is attempting to quibble over minor details. This distracts from main topic of discussion. For example, kicking up a fuss about a...spelling mistake.

If the person picked your weakest point and replied to that as if it represented your whole argument, that would be a Weak Man fallacy. 

However, try not to make too many points because you could easily commit fallacy yourself (Shotgun Spree/Gish Gallop) if you focus on a high quantity of arguments rather than good quality. 

answered on Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 11:53:44 AM by Rationalissimus of the Elenchus

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Bo Bennett, PhD

This sounds like a classic Red Herring .

answered on Saturday, Jun 06, 2020 08:04:34 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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