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Old 07-10-2009, 08:36 PM   #32
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Re: Words like God and Ki

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Sorry, I need to clarify what Aristotle was getting at... To pursue discourse with an oppposed group is to tailor the discussion to placate the opposition, which Aristotle advises against. Instead, he advocates pursuing the argument which will appeal to the persuasive group; that is, the group which may be turned to advocate for the argument in point.

The discourse actually has nothing to do with the orator picking out and segregating the audience. Rather, its about the orator choosing the substance of discussion and seeing the discussion maintains its integrity for the duration of the oration.
If Aristotle is simply saying, "maintain your argument; don't get side-tracked," then I agree. If he is saying, "don't tailor your arguments to placate (to any degree) your opponants' sensibilities," then I disagree. As it pertains to purely fact-based discussions I think it's pretty simple: your facts should be clear enough to support themselves and draw the support of those you are debating. Of course this requires all parties to be more interested in facts than in "winning." Where facts seem to support the opposing view, they must be worked into forming a new argument since fact-based arguments should be concerned only with the facts.

Constructing an argument does not have anything to do with segrated thinking, it has to do with creating an argument that can resist attacks to change topics from the core of the discussion.
I agree.

To which I will add a comment which I think plays a role in all belief-based arguments: A belief transcends empirical evidence.
One of the more fascinating "debates" to me has been that of global warming. I remember debating some peers who asserted it was a hoax cooked up by the leftist agenda. That was a belief which in many cases has been changed by the simple fact that on the whole, the globe has warmed a bit. So where a belief can be supported or rejected by evidence, I think it doesn't necessarily transcend the evidence. However, in cases like the spaghetti monster in the sky or the purple unicorn in the remotest of space, evidence will do no direct good, though it might force an adjustment in some other assumed corrolary.

A belief is so firmly fixed in one's being that it is undeterrable. So what is the point of arguing against a belief?
Because there are aspects of a belief which might still be shaped. I know a person who grew up believing very firmly in his family's understanding of the Bible. I have another friend who was quite antagonistic of Christianity. He was able to affect certain doubts on the part of the first friend. From the skeptic's view, it wasn't pointless. There is no right or wrong here in my opinion, but one did argue against a belief with success. I also recall a fellow on TV describe his particular bent on Christianity suddenly changing once he learned to read in the original Greek. Here's another case where evidence of some variety changed belief. Belief is often viewed as unreasonable...and it often is, but reason can still be applied with success because it still often goes into the formation of beliefs.

I assume since we are talking about beliefs, Matthew intended to qualify his complete disagreements as relating to beliefs. His beliefs are not relevant to mine, nor can he argue to persuade me to change my beliefs. So while at best we may have discourse exchanging how we arrived at our convictions, there is no argument.
I think I see what you're saying. Yes, i think we agree here, except I'd like to reiterate the idea that reason often plays a part in the formation of belief. Where there is no common ground to begin with, then there can be no argument, just an explanation.

So here is the question, why are we consumed with arguing beliefs?
I think, because they're treated as facts and I believe we're compelled to treat them with similar kinds of explanations. Also, many beliefs are ascribed such a high degree of importance that we feel compelled to assert that importance upon others: "my belief is of the highest virtue, so I feel compelled to defend that virtue against perceived onslaughts." This is why doubt was often held as being just as bad as skepticism during the Holy Roman Empire...a gateway drug of sorts, leading to the very same evil.

...As I think I understand it anyway.

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