Fingers In Ears

Jonathan Swift is often quoted as having said…

You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place.

This idea has been criticised as simply the waving of a white flag in the face of ignorance, and I think that is a fair criticism.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that it is nothing more than a “deepity“…

Deepity  refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.

E.G. “love is just a word.” On one level the statement is perfectly true (i.e., love is a word) but the deeper meaning of the phrase is false; love is many things — a feeling, an emotion, a condition — and not simply a word.

Although he is a frequent source of deepities, the name does not come from Deepak Chopra.

I think people can be reasoned out of positions they didn’t reason themselves out of, but only if they are willing to listen.

Take this for example, a right-winger starts on criticising Chomsky, has each of his points clearly and decisively taken apart, and then just starts off again.

If he had actually been willing to listen, he’d have changed his mind.

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2 comments

  1. The guy asking the questions sounds just like every other ‘Better Together’ drone I’ve ever heard.

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