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View Diary: Why I Tolerate Daily Kos (34 comments)

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  •  We'll have to agree to disagree on #3... (1+ / 0-)
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    Often people play Devil's Advocate without saying so but doing so in a way that is transparent; if I argue 2 sides of an issue it could be for lots of reasons (including the neutralization of an opposing argument) and the reader has to decide what it all means, and are free to challenge or question motives.
    I think you're setting the table for conflict with such an approach.  The back-and-forth of comment threads often becomes rather difficult to parse; it's often bad enough figuring out who said what without trying to go back and compare it to what that same person said previously in order to determine whether to "challenge or question motives."

    I also wonder why anyone would invite question of their motives by "arguing 2 sides of an issue", silently playing devil's advocate or other such games; I think you'll agree that we see enough "questioning of motives" in cases where straightforward opinions/analyses are stated, yes?

    As I said, I come here to read what people think; I don't score for rhetorical points or debate technique.  Of course, everything I've said here is eye-of-the-beholder stuff, especially when we're all reduced to words on a screen, yes?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 07:50:49 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I do have 3 golden rules (0+ / 0-)

      1. Never HR anything. It's counter-productive.

      2. If I'm not sure what someone means I ask questions or for validation of my understanding. I actually do this fairly often because English is my 2nd language and I sometimes get confused (or misinterpret) what is being said.

      3. If I want to put my hands through the display and tear someone's throat out (seldom happens) I take a break. Kind of a warning sign of one's own irrationality, I suppose.

      As for conversation, arguments, prose, poetry and humor, well, they are art and skillful practitioners get to violate rules all over the place as we stand back in awe and admire them.

      I tend to feel that some people who are quite literal miss the nuance of arguments meeting the criteria of Point #3 as much as they miss some of the humor, and some things don't really bear repeating or explanation (except in this thread, of course!).

      But I do think it's a common literary device to play devils advocate in arguing 2 sides in opposition in a way that fairly obvious to people actually reading (which leads us to what is often the problem on blogs; people NOT READING).

      As for why one would argue 2 sides of an issue:

      - To inform, as an honest broker acting in good faith.

      - To frame an issue for subsequent elaboration or argument.

      - To contrast choices, to establish a premise or support an argument for or against one of them.

      - To elaborate what an opponent is failing to mention, understand or is misleading on, either in an objective sense or to argue one's own case.

      - To propagandize, mislead, or present a false picture of objectivity (to be fair, I have to mention the bad faith cases, and in doing so, I demonstrate how this can be used, no?).

      Almost any scholarly or serious article on a topic is going to begin with some sort of framing that argues 2 or more sides to set the stage for elaboration, or even do so repeatedly, point by point. I don't consider this a matter of bad faith but rather of good; one will present what are reasonable or extant counter-arguments and deal with them.

      Also, one may do so to present dilemmas or paradoxes that may not be resolved, or to make a lesser of two evils judgement.

      I think this is actually very relevant to the present cases of Syria (no perfect case for anything except to wring our hands in dismay) or even the NSA debate where, in reality,  our real world clashes with our ideals and must be reconciled.

      In such cases, presenting two sides to argue one may be the best and most honest argument because we recognize the imperfection of our position rather than denying it in a partisan way for the sake of presenting one's case as absolute and infallible when it isn't.

      In my debating class many years ago, I learned one of the most important devices is the leading, rhetorical question that casts doubt; this can be used quite sincerely to introduce unexamined issues to shine light on them or purely as a tactic to put others on guard, but it's quite often the polite and diplomatic way to introduce an issue or argument verses making an obvious show of pointing to error or fallacy (or calling people idiots or liars).

      "Should we consider this from another angle, perhaps?"

      "But what if A is B?"

      That can work.

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