How to deal with people who make rational discussion impossible

Eric Voegelin in his discussion of Plato’s Gorgias says something that is highly relevant to our current situation:

The condition of Socrates touches upon a problem, familiar to all of us who have had experience with rightist or leftist intellectuals. Discussion is indeed impossible with a man who is intellectually dishonest, who misuses the rules of the game, who by irrelevant profuseness seeks to avoid being nailed down on a point, and who gains the semblance of victory by exhausting the time which sets an inevitable limit to a discussion. The only defense possible against such practices is the refusal to continue the discussion: and this refusal is socially difficult because it seems to violate the rules of comity and the freedom of speech.
—Eric Voegelin, Plato and Aristotle, p. 26.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 15, 2008 01:47 PM | Send

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