This debate was inspired by a comment of Spiritus Mundis wherein it was written that he “strongly disagrees” with my topic.
What does he mean by that?
Strongly disagreed is simply a statement of position. He is in fact, not arguing against the validity of my stance, merely suggesting that he holds another, possibly erroneous stance.
Perhaps what he really means is that he is being stubborn and pointing out his own failing in not being able to comprehend the beautiful symmetry of my logic.
Perhaps his use of the present tense signifies that he did not always hold this position, but has been thrust into it by circumstances that left him clouded as to the truth of things.
Bullshit. Clearly he thinks I am wrong, not he. That is the only interpretation that makes any sense, and any attempt to hedge out of it is merely playing word games in a deliberrate attempt to misconstrue meaning after the fact, and win a different point then the one actually presented.
I find this to be an odious tactic.
I think it’s dishonest.
For purposes of this debate let’s assume a couple of givens.
Semantics is defined as:
1.Linguistics. The study or science of meaning in language.
2.Linguistics. The study of relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent. Also called semasiology.
3.The meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form: We’re basically agreed; let’s not quibble over semantics.
Next, let us not quibble about technical matters, and confine our discussion to arguing semantics in general debate. Clearly a doctor, or an engineer, or a stock trader is going to find it necessary to have precise meanings attached to words and phrases.
This is not what this is about. This is about the exchange of ideas between disparate entities, not shop-talk amongst professionals.
My thesis is as follows.
The skills necessary to communicate ideas within an honest debate should not be at issue. Two reasonably intelligent debaters can usually convey their meanings to each other and have a productive debate provided that four conditions are met:
The communicator makes an honest attempt to phrase his point as succinctly and clearly as possible.
The comminacatee makes an honest attempt to discern and address the intended point as best he can.
Both parties are willing to address and restate any misconstruals honestly.
No after the fact revisionism occurs (for example, after seeing that he’s losing a point the communicatee goes back and deliberately misconstrues earlier language in order to suggest that he was arguing a different point than he knew the comminicator to be describing. The converse would be the communicator going back and saying that wasn’t what he really meant. The worst example of this is understanding the meaning of the communicatee and deliberately twisting the words to make it seem they mean something else.
If you don’t have those four items, you don’t have an honest debate.
Most anytime it seems that a debate gets bogged down in a semantics argument, you can be pretty sure somebody’s not being honest.
Debate my meaning. Don’t play games with my words.