debate / argument / logic

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

The Thoughtfuls and the Roughnecks

There is a way of argumentation that academics use. It goes something like, “Thank you for your valuable contribution to this exchange. You have allowed us to consider more deeply the issues before us. If I have one quibble it might be…” They could be talking about a house-fire and it would go something like [...]

How to Overcome Nonfactual Emotional “Arguments”

In his essay “Why No Civility is Possible Today,” Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. writes that, “A common good can be worked out among those citizens who may prudentially disagree on this or that point of policy.” It is necessary for citizens to come together and debate because there is almost never one single way [...]

Another Foolish Idea We Should Challenge

More on arguments.  “It's only a clump of cells,” says my interlocutor. I'll call him Mike. “I'm not aware of the scientific meaning of the word clump.” In all arguments regarding abortion, sex, marriage, and the raising of children, we may well steal a march on our opponents by appealing to biological or anthropological facts, [...]

Don’t Let a Foolish Idea Go Unchallenged

Father, I must confess: I have made comments on social media. There is at least one thing that social media illuminate, and that is the unwillingness or the incapacity of people to reason. I attribute it in part to “critical thinking,” which turns otherwise intelligent people into perpetual sophomores, ready to play what they think [...]

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