The goal of argument

Our goal should not to merely win arguments, but to gain a more clear understanding of what is true so that we can orient our lives accordingly. An exclusive interest in winning arguments would only serve to reinforce a sort of intellectual inbreeding1 and, as such, serve no real productive purpose.

I am sure I hold false beliefs, given that I am a finite being who is not endowed with omniscience. The trouble is that I do not know what of my beliefs are false. In order to know that I must be confronted with evidence and arguements.

Keep in mind, however, that beliefs are not given up easily (nor should they be) so I will necessarily strain my presently held beliefs to their breaking points before trading them for something else.

I would also wager that my attitude is not particularly unique, which is why I expect and welcome strong resistance. In fact, to paraphrase a friend of mine: I believe that growth is fostered through the managed conflict of ideas.

Afterall, what’s the use in building beliefs on a weak, untested foundation?

  1. I am indebted to Matthew DeLockery for this phrase. []

One response to “The goal of argument

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