The Ethics of Argumentation

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011

The sign of rationality is nothing else but the capability of both entities... to engage in discussion. If that is not possible, then we have no ethical problem, then we only have technical problems. Now, given all of the ethical problems that arise out of having conflicts with other entities, if they can be solved at all, must be solved in the form of argumentation -- talking back and forth -- and, if the fact that talking back and forth, a proponent talking with an opponent, since this arguing does not just consist of free flowing sounds, but requires the use of our physical body (vocal cords, brains, and so forth), in any discussion that we engage in, we implicitly admit the ownership, the property, of each person in his personal body... If I would not recognize the ownership of my opponent and his body, there would be no reason for me to ever talk to him, and likewise the opponent... If we were silent then nobody can ask for any justification of anything. As soon as we begin to talk to each other, then implicitly we must admit our mutual recognition of property in our own bodies. That is also what makes it possible for us to agree on the fact that we have disagreed.