Non Arguments

I’ve realized time and time again that I’m not much of a fan of bad argumentation. There are good arguments, where opposing people take opposing viewpoints on a subject. Then there are non arguments where it’s not so much the subject that is debated, it’s a personal attack or an attack on an issue completely unrelated to the round. It reminds me of Thank You For Smoking – specifically the scene with character Nick Naylor debating with his son about chocolate vs vanilla ice cream. The scene is a prime example of how superior debating can be used to defeat someone, without actually defeating their argument. The reason I say “non” as opposed to “bad” argument is that the argument doesn’t pertain to the issue. It’s not a bad argument relating to an issue, it’s an argument that doesn’t relate to the issue at all. This is one of the reason’s I’ve started to be turned off philosophy.

After reading through countless articles in my philosophy textbook for and against certain sides of issues, I’ve come to realize that so much of philosophy is proving how you’re better than someone as opposed to proving why your argument is better. I have a new professor this semester, he’s really good, but through his teaching I’ve come to find that what’s superior about him is his debating skills and not much more. In philosophy there are no answers. Were answers to an issue found, the issue-in-question would be removed from the realm of philosophy and cast into science, fact, or the like. This leaves philosophers with nothing else but to oppose each other in endless, useless, strife.

I much prefer a discipline where it’s the issue itself that is important, where concrete answers are found, and where it’s not about proving how you’re better.

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