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Thread: The art of debate...

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    As I recall from college (minor in Philosophy), Plato's earlier works were written transmissions of the dialogues Socrates held with others, while his later works used Socrates as a character - or "alter ego," if you prefer. I think the scholarly explanation for this is that Socrates appears quite differently in different works, such that there were really two of them: the real one, who wrote nothing down himself (Plato did it for him); and the alter ego of Plato.
    I know that Socrates and Plato existed, but that's the extent of my knowledge. I have a good friend and golfing buddy that is a Philosophy professor at a local liberal arts college. I asked him once, what exactly is Philosophy. He responded--it's anything you want it to be, that's why I entered the discipline. As can be imagined, we've had some interesting 19th hole discussions. He jokingly has said that he wants to take a mutual friend and me to his Ethics class to be used as visual aids.

  2. #52
    The Covfefe are Coming! BitterPill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Are you saying that because people will not respond to it? Or perhaps because of how Dr. Knuckles presents it?
    I couldn't convince Dr. Knuckles, so I gave up.

    Nevertheless, I am still a fan of the Socratic method.
    Thanks from Dr.Knuckles and Ian Jeffrey

  3. #53
    The Covfefe are Coming! BitterPill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
    My own debate technique tends to focus on facts and figures that can be found in official or at least credible sources. For example, rather than waging a war of vague rhetoric about how much better or worse things got on Obama's watch, I'd want to quote what the actual changes were to major measurable indicators of social and economic well-being (murder rates, median real incomes, etc.) My thought is that we'll never get anywhere with a battle of emotional assertions, but maybe we can get somewhere when we're dealing with hard numbers.

    The problem with my approach, though, is it simply doesn't work. The vast majority of people only care about numbers if they happen to line up with their emotional convictions. A person who is emotionally convinced that the nation went to hell in a hand-basket on Obama's watch isn't going to care that incomes rose, crime fell, unemployment rates plummeted, stock prices soared, drop out rates fell, GDP rose, teen pregnancy fell, etc. The person will either dismiss the numbers as fabricated, or ignore them while seeking out some counter-trend, however obscure (e.g., a decline in the number of businesses less than a year old).

    The scientific research confirms that my approach just doesn't line up well with how most people's minds actually work. Most people reach a snap emotional judgment, and then bend their intellects to the task of finding material that supports that judgment, and explaining away material that contradicts it. They're not interested in learning what the truth is. They're interested in convincing themselves and others that whatever they happen to believe is right.

    Still, hope springs eternal and I stick to the numbers-based debating approach, no matter how many times it fails.
    I surely appreciate your method.
    Thanks from Arkady

  4. #54
    The Covfefe are Coming! BitterPill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    I have not read them all ... just Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Republic, Euthyphro & Gorgias. I do not remember much of any of them, but I still have the first five.

    In fact, I have a book containing the first four and selections from Republic that I have had since something around the 4th grade ... early to start reading that stuff, especially given that my 4th grade teacher suggested Shakespeare would be too hard for me to read. (Started those in h.s.) Never tell a kid something is too hard for him.
    Damn... at that age I was reading The Hardy Boys and proud of it. Read every one of them.
    Last edited by BitterPill; 8th September 2017 at 01:05 PM.
    Thanks from Rasselas, MaryAnne and Ian Jeffrey

  5. #55
    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BitterPill View Post
    I couldn't convince Dr. Knuckles, so I gave up.

    Nevertheless, I am still a fan of the Socratic method.
    Lol. I'm the choir. You don't need to convert me. Hahaha. I'm fully on board.

    But the debate is futile if it's with someone who is deliberately refusing to acknowledge any premise that might lead the wrong way. Just ... straight up, flatly refuses to acknowledge it. And the "judge", the person scoring the debate, considers THAT a valid
    argument.

    Your fingerprints are on the knife"
    "I never touched it"
    "Your fingerprints are on it"
    "I don't believe in fingerprints"
    "Your DNA is on it too"
    "I don't believe in DNA"
    "Five witnesses saw you and it's on video"
    "Nope. I didn't touch it"
    "Come on, I'm not saying you killed him, but clearly you touched this knife"
    "Nope, never touched it. You're a socialist"

    The ONLY way to resolve this is with an independent judge. To say "ok, he clearly touched that knife so we'll go forward".

    Voters are SUPPOSED to be that judge.

    But what I see on this website, and in American media, is that the voters are unpaid, volunteer advocates of one side or the other. Childishly playing the "nope, he didn't touch it" game - instead of being the mature, responsible judge.

  6. #56
    Member allegoricalfact's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    It is impossible to tell the difference between Plato's writing and what little writing that was credited to Socrates. So it is argued that Socrates is Plato's alter ego. No one can prove that Socrates walked the earth but there is more evidence of that than there is of Jesus walking the earth.

    Evidence suggest that Jesus was the alter ego of Paul yet there is no way to argue that fact with an American. Americans know it all, so when they say that Jesus was born of a virgin birth they fail to realize that it make Jesus a bastard child.
    Evidence suggests - in fact it more than suggests, that Jesus was the Jewish man/god. Dionysus was also born of a virgin mother, he was also crucified and rose from the dead and he had his 12 disciples etc - Mithras was a celibate ( the Roman army's man/god, though Persian he is a soldiers 'god' ) so when Rome decided to rule by the mind rather than the sword they morfed the favored man/gods in to the chosen one Jesu - The man/god was what we would become - to find the Christ or ? in us. That people believe he is real - doesn't matter - they are of the uninitiated .... but what does it matter? It doesn't.Christianity being the NT only ------------ as much as they will give us there is more - much more. For eg Jesus Goddess was Sophia -
    Last edited by allegoricalfact; 8th September 2017 at 12:41 PM.
    Thanks from chaos

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    The other poster's take is curious. It's hard to call Socrates's apologia and apology when he tells his accusers that not only shouldn't they punish him, they should pay him a stipend from public funds. And in the Crito he makes a careful explanation of why he will not escape into exile to avoid his punishment, as Crito suggests he should.

    And good for you. I know the Phaedrus, the Apology, and Crito fairly well, but I don't know the others.
    I took a whole course on Plato, and we had to read everything he wrote -- which actually doesn't take so long until you hit the Republic. We also had to read the pre-Socratics (or read about them, in cases where there were no surviving works) -- Anaximander, Anaximenes, Thales, Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras. I don't remember much about them, all these years later, but Socrates (or rather Plato's version of Socrates) sticks in the mind vividly. I can no longer remember which dialogue contains which points (other than the Apologia, which reads more like a drama than a piece of philosophy), but the concepts are mostly still there in my memory.
    Thanks from Ian Jeffrey

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWahoo View Post
    I know that Socrates and Plato existed, but that's the extent of my knowledge. I have a good friend and golfing buddy that is a Philosophy professor at a local liberal arts college. I asked him once, what exactly is Philosophy. He responded--it's anything you want it to be, that's why I entered the discipline. As can be imagined, we've had some interesting 19th hole discussions. He jokingly has said that he wants to take a mutual friend and me to his Ethics class to be used as visual aids.
    I'd strongly recommend reading at least a few of Plato's dialogues. It sounds crazy to say, but they're actually a lot of fun. They generally take the form of a narrative -- Socrates is hanging out in Athens, when he encounters someone and they start talking about some subject -- the nature of love, the role of art, the best form of government, etc. Then they go back and forth for a while, generally with Socrates poking holes in the ideas the other person is offering up, and sometimes they come to some profound truths in the process. The characters are vividly drawn through their words, and the sensibilities can be weirdly modern, considering how ancient the texts are -- I feel like Socrates's mindset is far closer to our own than is the mindset of some medieval philosopher like Abelard, even though Abelard came along 1400 years closer to our time. It seems like if you met Socrates today (and you could speak his language), you could understand each other just fine, whereas anyone in European history between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance sometimes seems unknowably alien to our own time.

  9. #59
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    Arkady:

    I am nearing retirement. While the wife and I will do some travelling, it will not be often and extensive, so I thought I would spend my time golfing and reading. Sort of a second childhood self education, if you will. So, thanks for the suggestion. Permit me to ask, if I go to the local Border's book store, for what will I be looking.
    Last edited by TheWahoo; 8th September 2017 at 01:15 PM.

  10. #60
    Veteran Member Pragmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanmcfly View Post
    When did we give up on logic and reason as the foundation of debate?

    Going from presenting blogs as undeniable fact and attacking when a contrary opinion is presented.

    The haste with which the majority of debate devolves into ad hominem or other fallacious debate techniques...

    Have we forgotten that in debate the first person who resorts to attacking the person has essentially given up and is accepting defeat?
    Bullshit. If you are going to argue the earth is flat I'm going to simply say you are an idiot and move on. You can call that winning if you would like but it won't be the case.

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