July 9, 2020 at 9:20 pm #57269geoffParticipant
- Layne’s Law of Debate:
Every debate is over the definition of a word. Or
Every debate eventually degenerates into debating the definition of a word. Or
Once a debate degenerates into debating the definition of a word, the debate is debatably over.
( please don’t change the way these are written — LayneThomas )
Coined by LayneThomas.
Knowledge occurs in ideaspace, but arguments occur in wordspace, often due to low fidelity translation between the two spaces. The argument itself must exist as ideas, not words. To argue over the definition of a word is contrary to the spirit of arguing. To attach any relevance to the word used for a given idea is to destroy the argument. People play word games to further their agenda, and LaynesLaw is a defense against SocraticMethod attacks where slightly different definitions of a word are a trap if you agree to their definition. This leaves an irritating dilemma: what do you do if someone else is turning the argument into a contest of definition? Does this leave every argument as a cooperative endeavour, with neither party able to keep it meaningful? What happens when no agreement can be reached as to whether the argument was truly that?
What happens if a debate ends prematurely:
A: Your dog is stupid.
B: No he isn’t.
A: Yes he is.
B: No he isn’t.
A: Screw this, I’m going to the pub.
B: Good riddance.
…at no point did the definition of a word get anywhere involved.
It’s just not made explicit. In this case, the definition in question is that of “stupid”.
LaynesLaw states that it *will* happen – and thus the argument will end. This page doesn’t describe how debates start, but how they end (not in fire, but in ice). A big problem is that language is relative. Suppose the debate was “are conservatives more wealthy?” – eventually the term conservative would be debated, and then clarified with “fiscal, social, etc” conservatives. If they ever settled that, they could move on to fiscal wealth versus emotional wealth. Then they could argue whether the different kinds of wealth can be compared with “more”. They might even argue that “are” is irrelevant since the current period is atypical of history or not part of some future plan. LaynesLaw describes what happens when ideaspace collapses due to bad structural support (i.e. the meaning of certain words are in dispute)
When this situation occurs, the best the arguer can do is to ask for a definition of the word, and then accept the given definition. Otherwise, you will find yourself forever speaking meaningless words, and there is no real argument. Unfortunately it is exceedingly difficult for humans to completely agree on the definition of any complex word. For philosophy to exist, there must be a way to decide what argument is valid, and what is not. This decision, however, can not be made by any person. How can anyone be certain of their own knowledge?
This is a straight quote from https://wiki.c2.com/?LaynesLaw
If you are unfamiliar with Ward’s Wiki, the wiki at c2.com: this is the Original “wiki”. Before Wikipedia, Wikimedia, Assange, there was Ward’s wiki. It is a treasure trove of proto-Dudist wisdom. Please, enjoy. Please
[ I am going to be posting a few things “proving” (evincing) the Doctorate I’m claiming from Abide U. If everyone’s ok with that. Not that anyone else should feel the need to do so: its just that I fully intend to use this particular non-regionally accredited degree “forwardly”. On résumés. And, well, the best defense is informative compassion. Cool? ]
~ Geoff [ geoffnixon.net ]
August 31, 2020 at 2:28 pm #61473RevMaskParticipant
I can mostly agree with Layne’s Law, because I’ve heard it too many times. Not the exact law, but the arguments over definitions.
In the example of the dog debate, by “stupid,” do they mean stupid as compared to other dogs, stupid as compared to mammals, or stupid as compared to humans? I think a lot of debates end when one or more participants can’t decide on the exact topic. When I was in high school long ago, someone tried to debate about euthanasia. They were all over the board. I asked if we’re talking all euthanasia or just euthanasia in cases of terminal illnesses? No one could or would answer, so I just walked away back to my seat. I felt like they were arguing more than one issue at once, and no one wanted to rein it in.
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