Re: The New Jargon

From: Bill Stoddard (
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 09:51:43 PST

This is my last reply to this thread...

I -agree- with much of Agre's article. Saying "conservatives" (I do not label
my self thusly) started this emotional abuse is just plain wrong headed (I've
pointed out some counter examples) and does not contribute to a clean delivery
of the message. I have no idea what his motives are; the only things I know
about him are what I can intuit from his writing on rre.

Time for some bad rhetorical metaphor... If it is easier to catch flys with
honey than with vinegar, what can you conclude about someone who still insists
on using vinegar?


> "Bill Stoddard" <> writes:
> > Taken in the
> > context of the time it was written along with the other writings on rre at
> > time, it appeared to be targeted at cutting political enemies to pieces.
> > delivery pushes it dangerously close to -exactly- the sort of thing he is
> > chastizing, only substantially more sophisticated.
> I don't know Phil Agre personally, and so I don't know if the motives
> you're ascribing to him are accurate; so I'm going to talk about a
> hypothetical person who happened to write the same sequence of
> messages, named Ill Faygree, and why he wrote them.
> Ill Faygree believed passionately in truth, and believed that rational
> discussion of ideas was a useful tool in distinguishing truth from
> falsehood. He believed that human beings could learn to tell rational
> arguments from irrational arguments, and that if they did, their
> beliefs would eventually drift closer to the truth, although not
> necessarily closer to his own. So he spent a lot of time writing
> about how to distinguish rational arguments from stupid arguments.
> He noticed that most of the really stupid arguments happened to be
> advanced by people who disagreed with him, and pointed this out, while
> advancing the idea that their method of argument would lead people to
> ignore whether things were true or false. His belief was that
> pointing this out would help some people notice that they were being
> deceived.
> That's why Ill wrote the article you're complaining about.

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