Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A juicy example of The Art of Controversy

God bless the true skeptics - they exist, and they hold themselves and their allies to high standards.

This post was interesting to me for this wonderful technique of The Art of Controversy:

So here's a pea-and-thimble [shell game] strategy one might try out in a discussion:

- When confronted with general, collegial, and interpersonal criticisms, look and ask for specifics;
- When being responded to on specifics, return to the general mode, but on another subject, in a more collegial and interpersonal voice.
The reader can easily see that it creates an unwinnable position for the opponent.

From Willard - Very good catch of the specific technique of "The Art of Controversy" -- ducking and weaving between the general and specific. Thank you Willard.

A reminder to myself that my general point and my specific point should skip down the lane holding hands, so I don't fool _myself_ with the same technique (skipping down the lane being a metaphor for presenting an argument).

Also, a good technique for speaking about morality.  Have the specific moral action followed immediately by the general moral concept.  Have the grand abstract moral scheme followed immediately by suggested congruent specific real-world moral actions.
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