[ExI] Raising the Level of Discourse in General

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 25 22:19:14 UTC 2009

BillK wrote:

 > On 4/25/09, Lee Corbin wrote:
 > <snip>
 >>  You accuse me of hypocrisy (above) when, I surmise,
 >>  it seems to you that there is an inconsistency in
 >>  my position. This is overloaded and unnecessarily
 >>  caustic language! Why is that necessary?
 > I think the problem is partly due to your debating
 > style, where you sometimes take the devil's advocate
 > position, for the sake of argument.

Hmm, I am unaware of ever having done that (but
thanks so much for raising the possibility).
Could this be a different meaning we attach
to "taking a devil's advocate" position?
Without looking it up---so that I don't bias
my report---I thought it meant to argue a
position that you do not really believe,
perhaps for the purposes of exposing
a logical weakness.

 > For example;   [thanks!]
 > If I lived in France, and,
 > if I held traditional French values, and,
 > if I supported the French state and status quo,
 > then I believe this and thus should be done.
 > Some might find that sort of theoretical argument hypocritical.

Not sure if that's what Rafal was getting at.
(I doubt it, really.)

I readily admit that the hypotheses there are
a bit weird, since they include so many
counterfactuals. But it's just a form of
saying, for example

(A)  "I don't blame the Indians in case X for
      massacring the white settlers (because
      the pony soldiers had killed some squaws
      and children in their earlier raid)."

(A') "If I had been an Indian and had returned
      to see my village burned and our squaws
      dead, I would have believe it right to
      go kill the settlers."

A' is a statement filled with similar counter-
factual hypotheticals that seems to me quite
equivalent to A.

Anyway, "hypocritical" is widely, widely and
wildly overused. We ought to mean by the term
preaching one thing and behaving differently.
It's often bandied about by those seeking a
more explosive term than "inconsistent" or,
(far better here) "apparently inconsistent".

 > Rafal doesn't debate like that at all.  He
 > calls a spade a bloody shovel.  ;)

Yes, :-) and that has its pluses and minuses.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list