Discussion And Argument Quotes

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Don't raise your voice, improve your argument." [Address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa, 23 November 2004]
Desmond Tutu
There is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory but progress.
Karl Popper
Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument.
Iain Pears (The Dream of Scipio)
If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." [Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)]
Louis D. Brandeis
I don't believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamor and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and everything that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.
James E. Talmage
A term like capitalism is incredibly slippery, because there's such a range of different kinds of market economies. Essentially, what we've been debating over—certainly since the Great Depression—is what percentage of a society should be left in the hands of a deregulated market system. And absolutely there are people that are at the far other end of the spectrum that want to communalize all property and abolish private property, but in general the debate is not between capitalism and not capitalism, it's between what parts of the economy are not suitable to being decided by the profit motive. And I guess that comes from being Canadian, in a way, because we have more parts of our society that we've made a social contract to say, 'That's not a good place to have the profit motive govern.' Whereas in the United States, that idea is kind of absent from the discussion. So even something like firefighting—it seems hard for people make an argument that maybe the profit motive isn't something we want in the firefighting sector, because you don't want a market for fire.
Naomi Klein
were part of the argument/discussion—call it the argucussion
Martha Wells (System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7))
Consider how challenging it is to negotiate or compromise with a man who operates on the following tenets (whether or not he ever says them aloud): 1. “An argument should only last as long as my patience does. Once I’ve had enough, the discussion is over and it’s time for you to shut up.” 2. “If the issue we’re struggling over is important to me, I should get what I want. If you don’t back off, you’re wronging me.” 3. “I know what is best for you and for our relationship. If you continue disagreeing with me after I’ve made it clear which path is the right one, you’re acting stupid.” 4. “If my control and authority seem to be slipping, I have the right to take steps to reestablish the rule of my will, including abuse if necessary.” The last item on this list is the one that most distinguishes the abuser from other people: Perhaps any of us can slip into having feelings like the ones in numbers one through three, but the abuser gives himself permission to take action on the basis of his beliefs. With him, the foregoing statements aren’t feelings; they are closely held convictions that he uses to guide his actions. That is why they lead to so much bullying behavior.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
He just asked questions, especially to begin a conversation, as if he knew nothing. In the course of the discussion he would generally get his opponents to recognize the weakness of their arguments, and, forced into a corner, they would finally be obliged to realize what was right and what was wrong.
Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World)
Only the Christian Church can offer any rational objection to a complete confidence in the rich. For she has maintained from the beginning that the danger was not in man's environment, but in man. Further, she has maintained that if we come to talk of a dangerous environment, the most dangerous environment of all is the commodious environment. I know that the most modern manufacture has been really occupied in trying to produce an abnormally large needle. I know that the most recent biologists have been chiefly anxious to discover a very small camel. But if we diminish the camel to his smallest, or open the eye of the needle to its largest — if, in short, we assume the words of Christ to have meant the very least that they could mean, His words must at the very least mean this — that rich men are not very likely to be morally trustworthy. Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags. The mere minimum of the Church would be a deadly ultimatum to the world. For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man. The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt. There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor.
G.K. Chesterton
I picked something with lots of sex, drugs and murder,” Madeline had said, “so we have a lively discussion. Ideally there should be an argument.” The
Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)
There are four possible ways of preventing a man from working his argument [161a1] to a conclusion. It can be done either by demolishing the point on which the falsity that comes about depends, or by stating an objection directed against the questioner—for often when a solution has not as a matter of fact been brought, yet the questioner is rendered thereby unable to pursue the argument any farther. Thirdly, one may object to the questions asked; for it may happen that what the questioner [5] wants does not follow from the questions he has asked because he has asked them badly, whereas if something additional is granted the conclusion comes about. If, then, the questioner is unable to pursue his argument farther, the objection will be directed against the questioner; if he can do so, then it will be against his questions. The fourth and worst kind of objection is that which is directed to the time allowed for discussion; for some people bring objections of a kind which would take longer to [10] answer than the length of the discussion in hand.
Aristotle (The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, One-Volume Digital Edition)
William James used to preach the “will to believe.” For my part, I should wish to preach the “will to doubt.” None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error. The methods of increasing the degree of truth in our beliefs are well known; they consist in hearing all sides, trying to ascertain all the relevant facts, controlling our own bias by discussion with people who have the opposite bias, and cultivating a readiness to disregard any hypothesis which has proved inadequate… In religion and politics, on the contrary, though there is as yet nothing approaching scientific knowledge, everybody considers it de rigueur to have a dogmatic opinion, to be backed up by inflicting starvation, prison, and war, and to be carefully guarded from argumentative competition with any different opinion.
Bertrand Russell (Free Thought and Official Propaganda)
The question as to which of these two theories applies to the actual world is, like all questions concerning the actual world, in itself irrelevant to pure mathematics.* But the argument against absolute position usually takes the form of maintaining that a space composed of points is logically inadmissible, and hence issues are raised which a philosophy of mathematics must discuss. In what follows, I am concerned only with the question: Is a space composed of points self-contradictory? It is true that, if this question be answered in the negative, the sole ground for denying that such a space exists in the actual world is removed; but this is a further point, which, being irrelevant to our subject, will be left entirely to the sagacity of the reader.
Bertrand Russell (Principles of Mathematics (Routledge Classics))
The person who is speaking in this manner believes that winning the argument makes him right, and that doing so necessarily validates the assumption-structure of the dominance hierarchy he most identifies with. This is often—and unsurprisingly—the hierarchy within which he has achieved the most success, or the one with which he is most temperamentally aligned. Almost all discussions involving politics or economics unfold in this manner,
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
[Asked by an audience member at a public Q&A session] Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of 'absolute morality', would it not then be an irrational leap of faith – which atheists themselves so harshly condemn – for an atheist to decide between right and wrong? [Dawkins] Absolute morality...the absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include, what, stoning people for adultery? Death for apostasy? [...] These are all things which are religiously-based absolute moralities. I don't think I want an absolute morality; I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based on – you could almost say intelligent design. [...] If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people – among 21st century people – we don't believe in slavery anymore; we believe in equality of women; we believe in being gentle; we believe in being kind to animals...these are all things which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Koranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time; through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion. To the extent that you can find the 'good bits' in religious scriptures, you have to cherry-pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran, and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality – and you say, look at that! That's religion!...and you leave out all the horrible bits. And you say, 'Oh, we don't believe that anymore, we've grown out of that.' Well, of course we've grown out of it. We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.
Richard Dawkins
Christ himself was accused of heresy, and quite justifiably. John the Baptist and his school called Jeshu ben Miriam-the son of Miriam the deceiver, the traitor, because he had betrayed the mysteries; he became an individual, the son of God, and received immediate revelation, and that was an awful sin and the real cause of his death. It is an old Jewish tradition also that he betrayed the mysteries and so had to suffer the death of a traitor. In the literature of the Manichaeans, the disciples of John, there is a text containing a discussion between Christ and John the Baptist upon that question. They both presented very good arguments. Christ's very practical argument was: 'Do I not make the lame walk? Do I not restore sight to the blind?' But John would not hear of that, he said that Christ betrayed the mysteries, he gave them out to the world, and that they would be destroyed by the world. And the world did destroy them. The projection of the Self belonged to the psychology of ancient times, when the chief or the king represented the whole people and had to suffer and to die for the people. Then another old rite played a certain role in the history of Christ; it is to a great extent legend, but legends are so true that they repeat themselves literally in reality, real events are like legends.
C.G. Jung
Nobody can become king except the one who is supposed to be king, the one who contains the idea of the Self. That is Christ according to the still generally prevailing Christian idea, and from such a standpoint any attempt at getting at individuation would be heretic, as it has always been; it has always been the party of the left hand and a crime. Christ himself was accused of heresy, and quite justifiably. John the Baptist and his school called Jeshu ben Miriam-the son of Miriam the deceiver, the traitor, because he had betrayed the mysteries; he became an individual, the son of God, and received immediate revelation, and that was an awful sin and the real cause of his death. It is an old Jewish tradition also that he betrayed the mysteries and so had to suffer the death of a traitor. In the literature of the Manichaeans, the disciples of John, there is a text containing a discussion between Christ and John the Baptist upon that question. They both presented very good arguments. Christ's very practical argument was: 'Do I not make the lame walk? Do I not restore sight to the blind?' But John would not hear of that, he said that Christ betrayed the mysteries, he gave them out to the world, and that they would be destroyed by the world. And the world did destroy them. The projection of the Self belonged to the psychology of ancient times, when the chief or the king represented the whole people and had to suffer and to die for the people. Then another old rite played a certain role in the history of Christ; it is to a great extent legend, but legends are so true that they repeat themselves literally in reality, real events are like legends.
C.G. Jung
An intellectual, once imprisoned, is crushed by the camp. Everything that used to be dear to him is trampled into the dust, and he sheds his civilization and culture in the shortest imaginable time, a matter of weeks. In any discussion the main argument is a fist or a stick. The means of compulsion is a rifle butt or a punch in the mouth. An intellectual turns into a coward, and his own brain suggests a justification for his actions. He can persuade himself of anything, he can take any side in an argument. The criminal world calls intellectuals "life teachers," fighters "for the people's rights." A "slapping," a punch, is enough to turn an intellectual into the obedient servant of some thieving Senia or Kostia. Physical influence becomes moral influence. The intellectual becomes a permanently scared creature. His spirit is broken. Even when he gets back to life in freedom, he will still have this intimidated and broken spirit.
Varlam Shalamov (Kolyma Tales)
Jane started say­ing ‘Wel­come to be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship’ to me over and over again. I’d tell her about all the com­pro­mises I was mak­ing and how much Andy’s self-ab­sorp­tion could ir­ri­tate me and how I’d no­ticed that he’d stopped find­ing me sexy and started find­ing me sweet – that he used to grab my bum and kiss me, and now he kissed me on the head and pulled the zip­per of my jacket up and down in a cutesy way. ‘Wait till he stops find­ing you sweet,’ she said. ‘That’s a whole other phase.’ I told her about how much time was spent com­fort­ing him and buoy­ing him up and get­ting him out of low moods. How his emo­tions were al­ways more im­por­tant than mine – that when we had arguments, his feel­ings were dis­cussed as facts and mine were in­ter­ro­gated as fab­ri­ca­tions. ‘Jen,’ she said mat­ter-of-factly, ‘do you even want a boyfriend?’ I asked her if this was all stuff she put up with and she nod­ded. ‘Wel­come to be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship,’ she said. And I thought: I don’t want to be wel­come here. I don’t want to get com­fort­able here.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)