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As I understand it, synthesis is the creation of a higher level agreement from two seemingly irreconcilable positions; so the agreement about chopping moi to pieces wouldn't (as I understand it) be about how big the bits I'm chopped into might be, but rather--"Hey, why don't we keep him as a slave?" Solving both needs.
Oppositional debate can also serve as a means of setting out the arguments for and against, of adducing evidence, in other words, of providing information.
Yeah, I think this is its role; making sure the nuances (as Jake had it) have been dealt with; but I suddenly had a doubt--it sounds good in principle, but I wondered: has anyone here ever had an opinion that was changed by this setting out of the arguments, with evidence, etc? It seems that those who believe homosexuality is an illness, or that there were WMD, or that nuclear power is dangerous, or whatever the position might be....just on the internets there must be the same arguments argued a hundred thousand different ways, but I don't think people are changing their minds...
Although--having said that, for the undecideds or the "I never knew about this topic, didn't realise there were issues, tell me more", a well worded and researched argument may win out against something less well argued, or researched--
--David Icke comes to mind, all his pages of information--have you read Them, by Jon Ronson? He discovers the Bilderberg group really does exist; that there really is a large stone owl, that there really is a ceremony where they burn an effigy of...etc....
heh! Maybe I'm thinking of myself, trying to tidy the intellectual map, shaking off the crumbs, see what's been mapped, see better where the irreconcilables lie...
...and yes, a good fight draws the attention, so we'll all keep throwing sticks at each other....!
So: when ideas are antithetical or at least very different, how do you discuss them productively without confronting them? Propositions welcome.
I do like the idea of a person studying the weakest part of his or her own side's argument--it's sorta anti the "We need guns because they have guns" logic--
So...I think ideas can be confronted, positions stated. I like the idea of finding agreement on specific issues (as opposed to a strange agreement that it's best not to discuss some issues, which as you say reduces an argument to "me and my mates agreeing about things we agree about"...
Ach zo, senor afew! I have proposed ze thesis, you have proposed an antithesis, and now--
hey, I've learned some great new words already! Gotta love euhemerism!
So...synthesis: I get to learn some new greek words that lead me to new concepts from which I can better view the terrain....a tweaking of ze mental map!
But yeah, the danger is that all discusssion reduces to, "Well, let us define is--and then we can go from there!"
On t'other hand, I have my moments where I think that if we really did all stop and ponder what is is (do all cultures have it? What are its roots? It's one of our oldest concepts, maybe--How has its function changed over time....)--er....
Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
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