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voting results

From: Alex N.
Sent on: Monday, September 13, 2010 3:00 AM
Hello Analytic Philosophers:

I really struggled for a long time whether even to bring up the issue of Ann because I was fearful of it having a chilling effect on our discussions with each other. I also don't want people in the club to think they have to be degreed in philosophy to make a substantive contribution. (I can assure you, at the last two meetups, the caliber and creativity in the arguments given were easily at the level of any graduate seminar).

On the other hand, the mode of polemics in which Ann was engaging, was leading to an equally chilling effect. That sort of passive-aggressive tactic aims to guilt the opponent into submission.

It would be helpful for everyone in this group, not already familiar with fallacies, to run through a list of basic informal fallacies. The wikipedia list is not bad. You can google other sites that discuss the same. You don't have to memorize every single type (it's confusing that some go by several different names; also, some authors get carried away with hair-splitting specificity). -- Being familiar with fallacies helps promote healthier debate (though beware of the 'fallacy fallacy'!).

As to the voting, the vote on Ann's membership status became moot when she voluntarily withdrew from the club. FYI, the voting was tending in the direction of asking her to leave, though it was not unanimous.

The vote on the 'principle of charity' was solidly in favor, though some members advised caution in being too strict with it. -- I really meant it to be more of a courtesy we have with each other. If someone offers an argument and it *can* be read in a negative way, as a courtesy, we ought to opt for the more positive reading of that argument (if one is available). Though, true, someone could abuse this courtesy, and so we should allow for that possibility.

The vote on whether to automatically disallow any non-analytic views (unless relevant to the topic) was also met with strong approval. However, again, a few expressed caution. Certainly, there will be times/topics where the line may be blurred. In such cases, we could perhaps take another vote, if necessary. Though, in most cases it will be sufficient just to remind whomever brings up the (irrelevant) non-analytic view that we all decided this is not appropriate to the debate. For instance, if we are debating the merits of logical positivism and someone interjects that his Swami teaches that logic & science  are an illusion of a false spiritual existence, then we can politely remind this person that what his Swami teaches is not appropriate to the debate at hand. I think this is a reasonable restriction for us to impose, since we *are* an analytic philosophy club.

Thanks to everyone for providing great insights and comments to this mini-crisis. It worked itself out, and I think put our group on a stronger footing.

I look forward to scheduling our next meetup soon!


P.S. Make sure to visit our discussion board and contribute your thoughts!

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