All of UnderTruth's Comments + Replies

Thank you for your reply and further explanation. Your examples are helpful, and on thinking about them, I'm led to wonder how these & other "techniques" serve the distinct goals of "Trying to arrive at The True Answer", "Trying to show this person that they have incoherent beliefs, because they have failed to properly examine them", and "Trying to converse in a manner that will engage this person, so that it has some real, hopefully positive, effect for them" -- and possibly others.

I think I am unclear on whether this approach differs from a more traditional "Socratic" style dialogue, and if so, in what ways. Could you clarify?

Another thought that this post brings out, is that while I think techniques of this sort are useful in a number of ways, even beyond the direct dialogue itself (for example, in practicing the kind of lateral and analogy-based thinking required to fluidly keep up with the conversation while maintaining this style), there is clearly a limited set of opportunities for which they are suitable. Do you know of any existing "taxonomy" of conversational methods, classified with respect to the circumstances in which they are most effective?

6lsusr9d
I was wondering how long it would take for someone to ask these questions. I will paraphrase a little. How does rhetorical aikido differ from well-established Socratic-style dialogue? Socratic-style dialogue is a very broad umbrella. Pretty much any question-focused dialogue qualifies. A public schoolteacher asking a class of students "What do you think?" is both "Socratic" and ineffective at penetrating delusion. The approach gestured at here is entirely within the domain of "Socratic"-style dialogue. However, it is far more specific. The techniques I practice and teach are laser-focused on improving rationality. Here are a few examples of techniques I use and train, but which are not mandatory for a dialogue to be "Socratic": * If, while asking questions, you are asked "what do you believe" in return, you must state exactly what you believe. * You yield as much overt frame to the other person as possible. This is especially the case with definitions. In all but the most egregious situations, you let the other person define terms. * There are basic principles about how minds work that I'm trying to gesture at. One of my primary objectives in the foundational stages is to get students to understand how the human mind lazily [in the computational sense of the word "lazily"] evaluates beliefs and explanations. Socrates himself was likely aware of these mechanics but, in my experience, most teachers using Socratic methods are not aware of them. * I use specific conversational techniques to draw attention to specific errors. Which brings us to…. Is there any existing "taxonomy" of conversational methods, classified with respect to the circumstances in which they are most effective? It depends on your goal. There are established techniques for selling things, seducing people, telling stories, telling jokes, negotiating, and getting your paper accepted into an academic journal. Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation is a peerless manual for improvisatio

As a parent of young children, I often consider this very dilemma. In addition, as the other comments describe, there are several other dimensions along which a parent must optimize:

  • Things that may broadly "give" to oneself (Sleep, exercise, fulfillment of "vocation", hobbies, etc) vs Things that may broadly "take" from oneself (Basic care for kids, the kinds of play that may not interest the parent, drudgery of "work", chores, etc)
  • Disciplinary style & social environment within the family (A two-dimensional area ranging from Harsh to Permissive on one
... (read more)
1Sable7mo
This was very well said, and I'd be interested in reading a post fleshing more of it out.

One note, based on my experience in across a variety of organizations, including holding a leadership role in a small political party, is that when a debate is "Free Flowing", if it is taking place verbally (usually in-person or over video-call) the lack of definite structure and time-boxing can often lead to domination by whoever of the two or more interlocutors has either greater prowess in rhetorical skill, or is more willing to simply steamroll over the opportunity for the other to speak, or both. I think a balance may be struck by having structured ro... (read more)

1Robert Miles9mo
Structured time boxes seem very suboptimal, steamrollering is easy enough to deal with by a moderator "Ok let's pause there for X to respond to that point"

Rot13: V gubhtug vg jbhyq or Znaan ol Znefunyy Oenva