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  1. #1

    Default Emotional debates...

    So last night I was with my dad and we got into a debate about the nature of religion, it's importance in human history, it's impact on our society today, etc.

    Ok, so it would have simply been a discussion in which we both agreed on more or less the same things, except for the fact that early on my dad exhibited WAY too much attachment to his point of view and I simply couldn't let bygones be bygones.

    And it was like I couldn't control the devil's advocate poking her little horns out and ruining his tirade. He'd say all these things that weren't logical or pertinent at all to my counterattacks and the more I came back with a well-constructed argument, the more stuck to his original claims he became (like just repeating them over and over again made them more validated).

    Anyway, eventually when I felt like I'd "won" I told him that, actually, I believed that what he was saying in the first place was quite true and that I was just being a stinker. He just laughed and that was that.

    But it got me thinking about how I almost always have this desire to play devil's advocate if I see that the other person is using emotion and irrationality to defend their arguments. I don't always engage in this (I guess Fe kicks in and I bite my tongue), but the urge is always there.

    I want to know if other ENTPs (or NTs) have the same urges? Do you usually act on them or do you keep it to yourself unless you feel like the other person will be a good sport?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Sounds like an ENTP thing to me... I see it all the time.

    INTP does the devil's advocate thing too, but I think we do it less capriciously and more because we really are interested in the argument.

    Put another way, ENTP prioritizes the exploration of possibilities (so devil's advocate can just be something to try, to see what happens, and max variety); INTP prioritizes the construction of an actual rational model, so even when we play devil's advocate, it's usually to weed out bad ideas and reveal to everyone which ideas are worth keeping. Both NTP types can take a varied approach on the matter... from choosing to be very hard-line in the challenge to being more coy and exploratory; it's based on contextual needs and the person being challenged.

    Because of the Fe side I developed, I tend not to do devil's advocate unless I'm in an environment where it seems suitable. It can restrict me sometimes in keeping peace more often than some of my INTP friends, a few of which would walk into any situation and immediately trying to poke holes in the prevalent view. I'll think it, but I won't necessarily say it unless I see a point to the challenge.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
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    I play devil's advocate only with some people (and mostly for fun). It's a good way of exploring other perspectives and possibly acquiring more knowledge on the matter through discussion. I've never played devil's advocate on people I dislike (yet! although it's tempting) because sometimes, those people are "dear" to people I like so hurting them would hurt my people (is that Fe? I'm still new to identifying functions). If I'm full of hatred for them however, I can see it happening. It would end quite badly for them hehe unless they are better at pwning.

    My closest friends usually appreciate this quality. It helps us examine different situations through various lenses and it helps with figuring out who's thinking what. When I play devil's advocate for fun, it's usually because it's too boring to agree with people on everything.

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    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    I can easily defend two sides of an issue when arguing with two different people. I do it all the time. My dad is a proponent of the smoking ban in bars and I oppose him with the law that the arguement restricts our freedom and that our government is patronizing in deciding which activities aren't allowed for us. But on the other hand, most of my friends oppose the smoking band and I argue with them that it increases the overall health of the population and that there has been no significant negative effect on the solvability of bars and clubs in general.
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    Senior Member Owlesque's Avatar
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    I love playing devil's advocate to prolong the bantering if we're both on the same "side" and the conversation is winding down, and I'm guilty of doing it when the other party mistakes their emotional conviction for strength of argument as well, though that doesn't always end well. I tend to only do it with people I know won't get really riled up in the first case (most likely other NTs, now that I think of it), and I usually just bite my forked tongue.

  6. #6
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    I will play devil's advocate, sometimes as a way of sounding out more thoroughly the other person's point of view. I do this especially when someone has difficulty supporting their statements, or appears not to have thought things through well, or has obvious gaps in logic. I might do it in the face of emotional arguments as well, or I might instead appear to agree, but then push the limits of the assertion to show how it ultimately breaks down. I rarely worry about how the other person will take either approach. If they are a willing participant in the discussion, and especially if they initiated it, I consider them fair game.

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Playing Devil's Advocate? Well, I've been known to do that with people online who I don't know very well, but I'm a little too serious to do it with anyone I would find myself interacting with on a regular basis.

    I don't really care for anyone who isn't able to appreciate more than one perspective, though. It usually leads me to avoid discussing anything besides the weather with them, because I don't want to hurt their feelings, and also don't want to waste energy arguing with the intellectual equivalent of a brick wall.

    I have a lot of respect for people who can see more than one side of a situation, and think less of those who cannot... I'm not sure why I'm like that, but it goes deeper than simple agreement. It's a different, deeper kind of respect than the typical admiration I have for people who simply happen to agree with me. And it's still there even if they ultimately disagree with me, though the disagreement might make me uncomfortable or angry for a while, depending on what it's about.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mephistopheles's Avatar
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    I always talk against others, no matter what my real opinions are. I always feel the strong urge to let one side see the perspective of the other. One INTJ acquaintance doesn't seem to realise WHY I am doing that and says I would be an "Anti-Person" because of that.
    They say I only think in form of crunching numbers.....
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I will play devil's advocate, sometimes as a way of sounding out more thoroughly the other person's point of view. I do this especially when someone has difficulty supporting their statements, or appears not to have thought things through well, or has obvious gaps in logic. I might do it in the face of emotional arguments as well, or I might instead appear to agree, but then push the limits of the assertion to show how it ultimately breaks down. I rarely worry about how the other person will take either approach. If they are a willing participant in the discussion, and especially if they initiated it, I consider them fair game.
    So you do it more to be helpful to the other person, rather than for antagonistic purposes? Or is it more in order to uphold the sanctity of objective fact?

    I'd like to say that I always play devil's advocate for the other person/for objective fact (because I genuinely think it's important for people to make sure their "convictions" don't get between them and reality, even if their convictions are based in reality), but sometimes I simply like to be antagonistic for the sheer glee I derive from it (which doesn't come from demeaning the other person, but from the excitement of a new perspective).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Arguing for the sake of arguing is one of the best ways to make people hate you. Not that this is always a bad thing, but it is something that goes relatively unknown while we relish in our smugness and participate in rationalist circlejerks.

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