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Re: Arguing with Bart (reply to Paul)

May 27, 1997 08:29 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker


>The technique that I allowed myself to be harassed with for far
>too long by someone else on this list is this:
>1. Take the position that others have to explain themselves to
>you, but that you don't owe them an explanation of anything.
>2. Get them to invest time and energy in trying to
>explain their point of view.
>3. Then pick whatever points of their explanation
>you want to challenge, ignore the rest, and further demand that
>they explain those.
>4. Maintain the position that they must defend and explain
>themselves, and see how long you can get them to play that game.
>If you can get them to expend great amounts of time and energy
>explaining and defending their point of view, and all you have
>to do is demand further explanations and defenses, you "win."

What you say here makes me think of the discussion you and
Jerry Hejka-Ekins had earlier in the year. The discussion was
on how an academic critique and defense might be conducted.
You were presenting some theories and offering supporting evidence.
The approach taken towards challenging and possibly discrediting
your theories, Jerry was saying, was about par for what you'd
find in academic circles.

I'm not aware that any of your statements of personal philosophy
were attacked in this way, but I could have missed or forgotten
some if they were.

When any of us are presenting our philosophical ideas, perhaps
sounding out some new ones for the very first time, it would
be both cruel and arrogant if someone, out of the blue, came
along and blasted us, perhaps because we've said something that
hits a raw nerve with them, or makes light of one of their
closely-held beliefs.

While you're in the philosophical arena, Paul, I'd expect you to
be treated with equal respect with everyone else, and the debating
technique you outlined would be wrong. But you're well aware that
when you put on your academic hat and speak as an historian, that
your hypotheses are open to academic review according to what is
considered "fair game" in that field.


-- Eldon

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