Author Topic: The limitations of dialectic  (Read 964 times)

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Prodigal son

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The limitations of dialectic
« on: March 23, 2014, 05:13:56 PM »
I sometimes think dialectic is futile. I have strong opinions (not fixed, some of them change over time, as in - like the other ex TB people here - leaving a destructive cult) and only really pay attention to things that confirm them. I know this is widely considered to be quite a poor practice, but I suspect I have many co-celebrants.
I think there are two reasons for my unwillingness to explore contrary arguments: the first is that I have already examined the argument in question to my complete satisfaction and have formed my opinion. It would require a major paradigm shift to revert to the previously discarded view. This may occur, but not through dialectic; it would be a lengthy reassessment process leading to a place of renewed interest in the proposed position. For example, to revise my opinion of, say, bullfinches, I would have to have some kind of breakthrough in the area of voles, realize my new knowledge could have repercussions on my thoughts about toads and dragon flies, and then discover some counter-intuitive link to my old friends the bullfinches resulting in a slow motion facepalm lasting several weeks or longer.
The second reason is similar to the "already addressed" scenario, except that here, although I haven't yet addressed the argument, I am currently mentally, emotionally, or spiritually unprepared to do so, like being given a gift of skittles for Christmas and only receiving a bowling ball on one's birthday, several months later.
Once again I need to follow a similar bullfinches - voles - toads and dragonflies path before I am able to take the argument's measure, or, if I'm too slow-witted and have the necessary humility to at least consider that possibility, I have to shrug my shoulders and appeal to some arbitrating authority (aka Wikipedia or, better perhaps, someone I know and trust).
So dialectic plays no role (that I can identify) in any of the scenarios that come to mind.
I know some politicians use dialectic skilfully and presumably it is seen as a vote-winning tactic, but personally I only ever pay attention to the miniscule number of politicians I like and assume, by and large, that the others are lying (which they probably are... I mean the other ones, not mine).