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Thread: STOP ARGUING!!

  1. #1
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    Default STOP ARGUING!!

    STOP ARGUING!!

    I cannot count the number of times that my mother would shout “STOP ARGUING!” at one or more of my siblings and me.

    Years later I learned that ‘argument’ had more meaning than was contained in those youthful experiences.

    I obtained an engineering degree and then later studied philosophies before I learned the much broader and important meaning of the word ‘argue’. When I studied “Logic 101”, in philosophy class, my worldview expanded significantly. I did not realize until later that this expansion of my worldview was to change my life completely.

    It seems to me that the forum members who participate in a thread approach the experience invigorated with much the same attitude as does a boxer entering the ring or a soldier going into battle.

    Metaphor entailments (to transmit or to accompany) we live by:
    He attacked my argument.
    I have never beaten this guy in an argument.
    If you do not agree with my statement then take your best shot.
    I shot down each of his arguments.

    We approach a forum response much like we approach a physical contest. We have a gut feeling about some things because our sense of correctness comes from our bodies. Our “gut feeling” often informs us as to the ‘correctness’ of some phenomenon. This gut feeling is an attitude; it is one of many types of attitudes. What can we say about this attitude, this gut feeling?

    Metaphors We Live By, a book about cognitive science coauthored by Lakoff and Johnson, says a great deal about this attitude. Conceptual metaphor theory, the underlying theory of cognitive science contained in this book, explains how our knowledge is ‘grounded’ in the precise manner in which we optimally interact with the world.

    “The essence of metaphor is understanding one kind of thing in terms of another…The metaphor is not merely in the words we use—it is in the very concept of an argument. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical: it is literal. We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them in that way—and we act according to the way we conceive of things.”—Lakoff and Johnson

    Let us say that in early childhood I had my first fight with my brother. There was hitting, shoving, crying, screaming, and anger. Neural structure was placed in a mental space that contained the characteristics of this first combat, this was combat #1. Six months later I have a fight with the neighbor kid and we do all the routine thing kids do when fighting.

    This is where metaphor theory does its thing. This theory proposes that the characteristics contained in the mental space, combat #1, are automatically mapped into the mental space that is becoming combat #2. The contents of combat #1 become a primary metaphor and the characteristics form the fundamental structure of mental space combat #2.

    This example applies to all the experiences a person has. The primary experience is structured into a mental space and thereafter when a similar experience is happening the primary experience becomes the primary metaphor for the next like experience. This primary metaphor becomes the foundation for a concept whether the concept is concrete experience or abstract experience.


    What I am saying is that for some reason the Internet discussion forum member considers engaging in a forum thread is a competition, it is a combat, and the primary combat metaphor is mapped into the mental space of this forum experience and thus the forum experience takes on the combat type experience. It seems to that is why lots of forum activity gets very combative.

    Is it any wonder that the adrenalin starts pumping as soon as we start reading the responses to our post?

    Do you feel like you are in a battle with me after reading my claims?

    Is this why most replies are negative?

    Another way that argument resembles war is that both in war and in arguments there is a great deal of bluff and bluster with little intellectual activity.

  2. #2
    Senior Member LeafAndSky's Avatar
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    Great thread title, got my attention.

    Something related to your post: the way people talk about cancer. The war with cancer. He battled cancer. She's determined to win over her cancer.

    It wouldn't have to be like that; someone could say, I want to re-direct what's going on in my body.

    Anyway, you asked:

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post

    Do you feel like you are in a battle with me after reading my claims?
    (Very effective, brings it right home to the individual.)

    Partially, yes. And partially I feel some of the other things listed below.

    It especially will feel battle-ish to me when a person writes something 'universal' that doesn't apply to me, i.e., "Everyone" does something or thinks something. But I know it doesn't have to feel like a battle, that's just me getting wrapped up in specifics and not taking a broader view of "Oh, that's just them."

    Sometimes my motivation for responding to a post is also compassion. Caring. Caring that the person has someone who replies, someone with whom to explore something important to them.

    Or education. Presenting another view that someone hasn't thought of, a view that might be of use to them.

    Some people truly enjoy arguing or debating. I'm not usually one of them. Ever since I learned that about myself and about others, I tend to stay out of threads or situations where people enjoy debate.

  3. #3
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Great post, coberst.

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    One day and the next Rainne's Avatar
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    Some people like to argue just for the sake of arguing w/o getting anything done in the process.

    I'll never understand.

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    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    What's the difference between an argument and a debate?
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

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    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SillySapienne View Post
    What's the difference between an argument and a debate?
    An argument is held for the benefit of the ones arguing alone. A debate is held for the sake of the people observing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    The essence of metaphor is understanding one kind of thing in terms of another. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical: it is literal.
    I am constantly criticized here for speaking metaphorically by the literal minded who want to argue.

    But who can blame them for they know nothing else.

    Raised by Prussian Pedagogy in neat rows of desks they are taught to interpret the Bible literally. And if their interpretations conflict, they are taught to argue.

    If they were taught self expression and active listening, their whole moral framework would dissolve.

    But there is no danger of that for any change of direction is met by visceral clutch and an irresistible urge to argue.

    It's the perfect trap, where we tie ourselves in knots - ourselves.

    But when we are in a trap, the only important thing is to get out.

  8. #8
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    LeafandSky

    One very serious problem is that our educational system has taught us something about debate but has left us totally ignorant of dialogic.

    I think that our first step is for a significant percentage of our population to become sufficiently intellectually sophisticated as to make many citizens capable of engaging in dialogical reasoning. To do this I think that many citizens must become self-actualizing self-learners when their school daze are over.

    Under our normal cultural situation communication means to discourse, to exchange opinions with one another. It seems to me that there are opinions, considered opinions, and judgments. Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. Considered opinions, however, are opinions that have received a considerable degree of thought but have not received special study. A considered opinion starts out perhaps as tacit knowledge but receives sufficient intellectual attention to have become consciously organized in some fashion. Judgments are made within a process of study.

    In dialogue, person ‘A’ may state a thesis and in return person ‘B’ does not respond with exactly the same meaning as does ‘A’. The meanings are generally similar but not identical; thus ‘A’ listening to ‘B’ perceives a disconnect between what she said and what ‘B’ replies. ‘A’ then has the opportunity to respond with this disconnect in mind, thereby creating a response that takes these matters into consideration; ‘A’ performs an operation known as a dialectic (a juxtaposition of opposed or contradictory ideas). And so the dialogical process proceeds.

    A dialogical process is not one wherein individuals reason together in an attempt to make common ideas that are already known to each individual. ”Rather, it may be said that the two people are making something in common, i.e., creating something new together.” Dialogical reasoning together is an act of creation, of mutual understanding, of meaning.

    Dialogic can happen only if both individuals wish to reason together in truth, in coherence, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other.
    Each must be prepared to “drop his old ideas and intentions. And be ready to go on to something different, when this is called for…Thus, if people are to cooperate (i.e., literally to ‘work together’) they have to be able to create something in common, something that takes shape in their mutual discussions and actions, rather than something that is conveyed from one person who acts as an authority to the others, who act as passive instruments of this authority.”

    “On Dialogue” written by “The late David Bohm, one of the greatest physicists and foremost thinkers this century, was Fellow of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

    Bohm is convinced that communication is breaking down as a result of the crude and insensitive manner in which it is transpiring. Communication is a concept with a common meaning that does not fit well with the concepts of dialogue, dialectic, and dialogic.

    I claim that if we citizens do not learn to dialogue we cannot learn to live together in harmony sufficient to save the species.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainne View Post
    Some people like to argue just for the sake of arguing w/o getting anything done in the process.

    I'll never understand.
    Webster defines argument as a means of persuasion. If our citizens had confidence in reason we would generally think of argument as a means for using reason to persuade others of the correctness of a view. Since our society knows that force is our primary mode for persuading us we often take argument as a show of force.

    I bring up these ideas in the hope that people will begin to think seriously about important matters which generally never enter their minds. The best response to my post is for the reader to develop curiosity and caring about a specific important matter and then in the desire to learn that reader would "go to the books". Alas our culture seldom inculcates such desires in our citizens.

    My basic message is "get a life--get an intellectual life".

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    Quote Originally Posted by SillySapienne View Post
    What's the difference between an argument and a debate?



    Argument is a means for persuasion; debate is a formalized organized effort for argument as using reason as a means for persuasion. Most people think of argument as being a verbal altercation.

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