For those who think that arguing
is better than sex is a sport, this article would be of interest because it’s quite methodical. It’s about steelman.
Steelman is the enemy of the strawman and, I think, is a close cousin of devil’s advocate.
First… you must attempt to re-express your opponent’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your opponent says “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.” Then, you should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement), and third, you should mention anything you have learned from your opponent. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
What is a social construct? A rather arbitrary intangible concept created by society. Therefore, under the assumption that X is a social construct, one interpretation of X is not more truthful than another. For example, if gender is a social construct, by definition, the idea that there are 50+ genders is neither more or less truthful than the idea that there are two.
The concept of social constructs is itself very much a social construct – as is any sociological theory. Therefore, calling X a social construct to show that X is irrelevant is… irrelevant.
Those who claim to be at war with a given social construct, on the basis of it being a social construct, need to do more than highlight its arbitrary nature, because their proposed views are equally arbitrary, or offer an alternative that is qualitatively different than just a new set of social constructs.
If you substitute the word culture for social construct above, it’s easier to understand. Of course, if you feel that the concept of social construct is qualitatively different to the concept of culture, please convince me, so that I can stop worry about theory and just join the cool kids.
Looking at the broader picture of social constructionism, I don’t really buy into its fundamentals because I don’t think that perception changes reality, just like I don’t think that Photoshop takes the cellulite off Kim Kardashian’s behind.
Prior to the Battle of Cannae, a Carthaginian officer named Gisgo commented on how much larger the Roman army was. Hannibal replied, “Another thing that has escaped your notice, Gisgo, is even more amazing—that although there are so many of them, there is not one among them called Gisgo”. Source
I misread it at first and thought – Glisgo, what a fabulous name for a cat.
The word snowflake has filtered down to the teens (or did they invent it?) And they write about not wanting to be snowflakes. Us millennials inspired the term and obviously terrified the rest of the population. These Z people make me excited.
It was coined in Fight Club:
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”
Would it be a thought crime to say that it’s a good thing to come to terms with the fact that you, and everyone else, is ordinary?
As I see it, people can do things that are special, but the concept of being special is the root of millennial narcissism.
Today I learnt that doctors are no longer encouraged to use the term compliance with treatment, but should rather use the term adherence to treatment.
It’s hard to believe we used to say compliance, now that I think of it.
A reader kindly sent me this article.
I don’t agree with its analysis, but it has some interesting points about using what vs why can have a significantly different effect.
During my stint in psychiatry, I learnt perhaps the most helpful question: what makes you say that? Notably, not a why question even though it asks about the same thing.
I also remember a brilliant psychiatrist giving a patient advice. The patient had a personality disorder and started reading about them to understand why she has it. He told her that at that point reading that could make it worse – and that interventions such as mindfulness and therapy were superior.
As for my disagreement. The article suggests introspective people are unhappy. It assumes and, with a very simple experiment, shows that asking why causes people to be sad. I think that introspective people aren’t sad because they are introspective, but sad and poorly self-aware people turn to introspection. And Negative Capability is still a thing.
Did you realise that rectify, rectangle, direction, correct, etc – are all related?
The penny dropped for me when as a first year medical student, in an anatomy lecture, I heard that the word rectum signifies the straight shape of that part of the bowel.
Had to be told about the origin of the word Ukraine as the borderlands – and not quite sure I buy it.