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In the dialectical process, Hegelian, Marxian, etc., a synthesis is not simply the mid-point between antithetical positions, but their resolution at a HIGHER levl, transcending the apparent opposition. So a synthesis of your "desperate example" might be agreement that neither of you had a right to decide what should be done with rg (though he might be assigned a bit more homework to inform his diary :-))

"how do you discuss them productively without confronting them?"

As you might have guessed, I'm not against confrontation :-) and don't see it as necessarily unproductive. Confrontation happens in science very often and can be fruitful and science indicates how most discussions can be made more productive. That is one doesn't just state one's opinions, but, where appropriate (e.g. not in cases where one is just reporting one's feelings) one also supports them with evidence, an indication of how they fit into a rational understanding of the issue in general (which would at least imply what would count as refutation), provides citations so one's evidence and its context can be checked. Such argument might lead to minds being changed, if not ValD's :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Dec 4th, 2008 at 08:03:46 AM EST
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