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Wed, 29 Aug 2007:

Sometimes discussions go offtopic. The starting points don't matter, neither do the goals (as if they exist !) - but it is the path it takes that needs to be recorded for posterity. One such philosophical debate happened yesterday, ending up rather more off-track than usual. Repeated here, from memory (i.e mostly what I said) & in condensed form.

S:  An argument for the sake of itself actually diverts away from the 
    original opinion to merely counter the other argument (no, not opinion).

Me: No, but an argument is actually productive in the sense that it feeds 
    the internalized argument inside you by offering new arguments 
    for/against your own bias.

Me: There are no convictions bereft of argument, but those that have 
    completed a debate with yourself about the pros and cons of itself,
    to arrive at a conclusion with both residing in the same mind at the 
    same time.

And since the discussion started off about patriarchal meddling, it went on into some more interesting topics.

S:  How will people learn if they don't make their own mistakes

Me: You *can* learn from other people's mistakes.

S:  No, you learn to avoid them - not to deal with them. Ending up
    in the established beaten path of safety which leads nowhere 
    in particular. Making mistakes and experiencing it first hand
    is an important part of growing up.

Me: Experience is not learning. Learning is when you internalize it,
    analyze it.

Me: Learning is not a goal by itself. What's important is to develop
    good judgement so that you can make smart decisions based on 
    lessons from past experience.

To put it mildly, it was enlightening for me to have to think that hard and come up with words for abstract concepts which I assume have always been there in my head. I just had to write them down somewhere before it all evaporated from my memory. I would've never done this without help - on the other hand, I've never had to explain anything to myself with the poor tool that is the English language.

After all, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

In most instances, all an argument proves is that two people are present.

posted at: 03:12 | path: /philosophy | permalink | Tags: ,