Iterative Arguments: Alternative to Adversarial Collaboration

No doubt it would be hard to get people to do what's depicted in the post. The conjecture is that in many important instances it would be considerably less hard than collaborative truth seeking. But it's just that: a conjecture. Still, I would think it prudent to explore many different avenues here given how unfruitful debates so often are and how much so often is at stake.

Iterative Arguments: Alternative to Adversarial Collaboration

Do you mean as opposed to three or more? That would be less practical, although some fields, like philosophy of mind, certainly have very many competing theories!

Iterative Arguments: Alternative to Adversarial Collaboration

I would certainly like there to be more collaborative truth seeking. But, as said above, I don't see it becoming the norm, certainly not in the short term. Tetlock and Mitchell, for instance, deem it "least feasible when most needed". (1)

Iterative Arguments: Alternative to Adversarial Collaboration

I agree that convergence would be ideal, but I'm quite pessimistic of how often it could be achieved even if our culture of discourse encouraged it a lot more.

Here, the synthesis would of course ultimately rest on the shoulders of the reader. It would be up to them to assess which of the sides has made the better case for their thesis. The iterative nature of the argument would at least ensure that obvious counterarguments aren't left unanswered, or if they are, the reader would have a better chance of noticing it and could then adjust their beliefs accordingly.

Another benefit from an iterative approach of this sort: the reader would have only one self contained argument to consider from both sides instead of having to wade through possibly a long sequence of rebuttals and rejoinders in which the forest is easily lost for the trees.

Rationality Quotes November 2012

I'm not sure what you mean to imply with your comment, but since someone had downvoted lukeprog's quote, I guess at least that person might have taken it to undermine Mencken's words. However, all Mencken is saying is that

p(easy,neat,plausible,wrong) > 0

which in no way contradicts

p(easy,neat,plausible,right) > 0.

Of course the essence of the quote is that a solution's being easy, neat and plausible doesn't imply it's right which often seems to be forgotten in public discourse.

Voting is like donating thousands of dollars to charity

I don't think a single vote -- and that's all any voter has -- sends any message. It hardly makes a difference to party A whether party B gets 279451 or 279452 votes.