To object to someone's argument by attacking the argument itself instead of them or a facet of their personality; to avoid or make the opposite of an ad hominem attack. Usually considered a positive action, and an avoidance of a fallacious argumentative technique. Often used in comparison to play the man and not the ball.
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"Billionaire Johann Rupert has called on politicians to play the ball and not the man in his acceptance of the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Lifetime Achievement Award... “Why attack people instead of debating the issue? Our issues are unemployment and a terrible educational system. It is a disaster,” said Rupert."

Submitted on January 20, 2019

Additional definitions for 'play the ball and not the man':

play the ball and not the manTo attack the ball instead of an opponent who is usually controlling the ball. Often considered a positive action, and sometimes a requirement not to concede a penalty.
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spiele den Ball und nicht den Mann

jouer le ballon et non l'homme

ludere pilam et non hominem

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    "play the ball and not the man." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jul 2024. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/play-the-ball-and-not-the-man_42878>.

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