Arguing with Children

The other day the New York Times ran an op-ed about Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmental activist. The TL;DR is that activism, particularly the activism of Ms.Thunberg, is “at odds with democracy.” Many on Twitter wondered how attempting to persuade people to take an interest in an issue could be undemocratic. It seems, if anything, … Continue reading Arguing with Children

Argumentative clutter

A while back, not that long ago actually, you couldn’t escape memes about Marie Kondo, the Japanese de-cluttering expert and reality TV personality. The most famous one was to ask, about any object that you have laying around your house: does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, then you get rid of it. Over at … Continue reading Argumentative clutter

Self straw manning

This is a continuation of Scott’s post from yesterday, where he observed that you can perform a kind of self straw man. You say something vague, knowing that you’re going to be “misinterpreted” and then you complain that you have been misinterpreted. This kind of move–and I’ll give a slightly more subtle version of this in … Continue reading Self straw manning

It’s all interpretation

There seems like there should be a name for the dialectical trap of saying something controversial, but then acting hurt that those who object to it interpreted it as controversial.  Talisse and I called a very closely related stategy spitballing, that of covering the dialectical space with too many things to respond to.   Consider the … Continue reading It’s all interpretation

Why we argue

The second edition of Why we argue  (and how we should) by Robert Talisse and our own Scott Aikin is now out. You can get it here or (what’s better) at your local bookstore. Devoted readers of this site will recognize some of the ideas, but (and perhaps I’m biased) all will appreciate its lively approach … Continue reading Why we argue

Too much argument

In a recent TED-X talk in Nashville, Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt) argues that to save democracy, we need to do less of it. Here’s the video: There’s such a strong connection between argument and democracy that I think what we’re being asked to less of is not so much democracy, but argument. We should argue less … Continue reading Too much argument

Fake News

Our friend Robert Talisse has an article up at 3 AM Magazine on the concept of “fake news.” TL;DR: it’s impossible to define “fake news” because our current discourse is so toxic that it will furnish no neutral examples: Thus we confront what philosophers call the paradox of analysis.  Any definitional endeavor must begin from presumed instances … Continue reading Fake News

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

The New Scientist has a short article with the title, “Philosophers of Knowledge, Your Time Has Come.”  Right on!  Oh, but there’s a catch. First, the setup. A COMMON refrain heard around New Scientist‘s offices in recent weeks has been “episte… what?!” Even among educated and well-informed people, epistemology – the study of knowledge – … Continue reading Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Philosophy15 on Swamping and Spitballing

A new episode at Philosophy15 is up, and in it Talisse and I talk through the related phenomena of what we’d been calling in our old 3QD piece, Spitballing and Swamping.  The topic’s gotten good coverage here at the NS, but it’s worth noting that spitballing has a close connection to what John and I … Continue reading Philosophy15 on Swamping and Spitballing