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Old 08-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #101
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,318
Re: Aikiweb as a "Big Tent"

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Um, it's a public forum. So, there is no "unsolicited advice" nor "unsolicited criticism". It's public. Forums on the internet are specifically designed for this. So, should my neighbor rent a Public Meeting Hall, invite all people inside to "communicate" and then proceeds to talk about how ugly he is, then, yes, he is inviting other people to comment on that "conversation". That is Internet forums, not someone living next door and unceremoniously telling him/her that they are ugly. Apples and Oranges.
What if he's walking through a park with a group of friends, talking about whether or not to get plastic surgery?

Funny thing about the internet: just because you *can* comment, that doesn't necessarily mean that you *should.* I think we can all name sites that are completely unreadable because the rules of civil discourse are so totally ignored.

Apropos of this thread, I was just reading an essay on civility in political discourse. It offered what seems to me a good definition of what civility in argument actually entails (emphasis mine):

This means that arguers are committed to the possibility of finding that their reasons are weaker than they had initially thought or that their opponent’s case is in fact stronger than expected; and when one’s reasons come up short, one may have to revise one’s belief. Unless conducted against the background commitment to the possibility of revising one’s views, argumentation is pointless.

We now are able identify civility in argument with tendencies that enable the exchange of reasons among disputants. Chief among these concerns the need for those who disagree to actually engage with each other’s reasons. This requires arguers to earnestly attempt to correctly understand and accurately represent each other’s views. For similar reasons, arguers must also give a proper hearing to their opponents’ reasons, especially when the opponent is responding to criticism. In addition, when making the case for their own view, arguers must seek to present reasons that their opponents could at least in principle see the relevance of. We can summarize these ideas by saying that civility in argument has three dimensions: Representation, Reception, and Reciprocity.

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