Spirited Debate on LO LO6720

Tue, 16 Apr 1996 08:48:52 -0400

Replying to LO6660 --


The following post by you begins, I think, to address the essence of my

>If I understand you Hal, I think we both applaud my father-in-law's
>content, and even his approach. For him, to do less, to leave a "lie" on
>the table, would be dishonest and be dis-respecting. That is, I think we
>agree that we should state our views, pretty forcefully. We might disagree
>about what to do when our thinking includes judgements about the other
>person or their works.
>Someone said, insightfully I think, that here on a large email list we'll
>tend to just ignore things we don't agree with. I hope that on the LO
>list, we can be fully honest and respectful. I think these are essential
>ingredients for effectiveness in our conversation.

The word "lie" is too strong here, I would substitute "error" (in logic or
fact) or "point of confusion" (a leap to far over intervening logic, a
fact unknown to the reader, a misstatement, sometimes an unfortunate

Many of our beliefs and even emotions we feel (believe it or not) can
actually be "traced back" logically in a succession of conclusions we have
made. These conclusions are based on the operation of judgements and
opinions. These, in turn operate on facts and earlier conclusions (the
fruit of earlier judgements and opinions).

I chose the word "arrogant" for this reason: I was attempting to see what
sort of rigor you and/or the list would use in the process I describe
above. That is, since I used the words "in fact" and "hypothetically" in
my thesis, that thesis could not be attacked logically because we were
agreeing to a set of assumptions or stipulations as premises to the
arguement that *followed* the statement.

By using what would *normally* be a judgement or opinion conclusion
("arrogant") in a statement which *stipulated* arrogance as a fact, I
could then see which the reader would react to:


Logically, if arrogance were stipulated, the answerer should deal with the
ensuing argument as to whether the person should be *told* that their
statement was arrogant.


But by stipulating as fact what is normally a judgement, some readers
would, perhaps, jump to a conclusion that the *writer* was being arrogant
in interposing their judgement as fact. This interpretation means the
reader ignored that arrogance was *stipulated* as fact.

I saw both Case 1 & 2 responses in the answers.

Now, the rub. It is my judgement that Case 2 responses are often
personality-based: that is if I had picked a word which was not
emotionally charged for that person or that person's cultural background,
etc. they might have responded under Case 1.

What you are trying to accomplish, Rick, if I read you correctly, is a
sharp focus on Case 1: the train of logic approach. That is also my goal.

Thus I submit that it the goal is best met by "enforcing the logic" rather
than "censorship" of emotionally charged words. You, as the moderator,
stand on much firmer ground pointing out errors in logic rather than
denying messages which contain strong assertions *because* you bring
*your* biases to the emotive case but logic is Bollean - i.e. -

It is my belief that we would all learn more if your enforcement was one
based on such determinism rather than judgement. Clearly I am NOT
advocating the passing on of messages such as: "You ignorant, arrogant,
SOB ..." - this message fails both the Case 1 and Case 2 methods.

To me the choice is: do we want to be polite but illogical or do we want
to be spirited but logical. I suppose we could be polite AND logical but
then we would miss out on at least some learning experiences. I don't
envy you the effort you must devote either way. It must be quite
difficult sometimes.

Hal Popplewell



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