Notes From Babel

What Use Are Arguments Unless They Persuade?

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I enjoy this passage from Robert Nozick’s Philosophical Explanations:

Wouldn’t it be better if philosophical arguments left the person no possible answer at all, reducing him to impotent silence? Even then, he might sit there silently, smiling, Buddhalike. Perhaps philosophers need arguments so powerful they set up reverberations in the brain: if the person refuses to accept the conclusion, he dies. Hows that for a powerful argument? Yet, as with other physical threats (“your money or your life”), he can choose defiance. A “perfect” philosophical argument would leave no choice.

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Written by Tim Kowal

November 18, 2008 at 4:20 am

Posted in Human Nature, Quotes

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