Forum Rules

Observations, queries, ideas for the forum, not GKC related.

Forum Rules

Postby davymax » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:26 am

• The intention to maintain the debate rather [than] to have the last word.


I couldn't disagree more with this rule. I can't honestly debate someone and not at least be making believe that there's a possibility that I'll have the last word. Why else argue for a particular side unless you think that the other person might be won over to your side? I'm not into debate for debate's sake. I think that to have the intention to "maintain a debate" is only a useful principle when it comes to not being overbearing or insulting to the other person causing them to not want to argue with you. I also expect the same thing from the other person. I don't want to debate with someone unless they honestly believe in what they're saying and have the goal of winning me to their side. Sorry if that's "inflammatory" but thought it had to be said in keeping with the tradition of Chesterton.
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Re: Forum Rules

Postby brian » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:29 am

"A man who says the last word on any topic ought to be killed. He is a murderer."
--G.K. Chesteron (according to Maolsheachlann , who seems to be the conduit of a lot of my favorite Chesterton quotes. I don't know the context, and I'll leave you to reach your own conclusions. :) )
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Re: Forum Rules

Postby davymax » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:50 am

I like the quote. Great reply. I suppose it's bad to say the last thing on a topic, but the phrase "to have the last word" means (to me anyway, I could be completely wrong) is to win the debate. Whereas we can talk about a topic to explore it without having a debate. Catch my drift?
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Re: Forum Rules

Postby Maolsheachlann » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:44 am

I encountered that quotation online, attributed to Chesterton. I can't remember where I got it from but if you run it through a search engine you will probably find the same source.

I love the quotation, and I agree with its spirit when it comes to convivial debate. But I do think Chesterton would have been the first to argue that there are things worth demonstrating conclusively, and claiming as truth. This is the guy who said that anything that wasn't a dogma was a prejudice! I think (possibly), if pressed, he would have said that you shouldn't say the last word in the sense that you can continue to defend the eternal truths, and to find new arguments for them and defend them from every angle, and to explore their implications, ad infinitum. But I don't think he would have approved of a kind of permanent agnosticism on anything.

I can say that "all men are equal" and hold that as a self-evident truth, but keep talking about it for the rest of my life. So in one sense it's saying the last word, and in another it isn't.
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Re: Forum Rules

Postby Jonny » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:45 pm

The intention of the rule was not to suggest members should in any way hold back from seeking to convey the truth lest it risk convincing others, which would be to anaesthetize discussion from the outset, but to avoid a situation common to forums where members become seized with a compulsion to be seen to "win" at all costs by whatever means necessary.

The quote from Maolsheachlann's blog was the inspiration for this rule, and seemed apt for a discussion forum, which I would hope has as a primary purpose of encouraging people to engage, and for it's members to value that engagement. Perhaps I should replace my clumsy paraphrasing with the quote itself, which could then be discussed further in the forum if anyone wishes. I've not yet discovered the source of the quote and, until this is identified, I'll remove the rule.

Please feel free to make further suggestions for the forum. Best place for this is within Forum Management, to where this topic has been moved.
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"Last Word" quotation

Postby Maolsheachlann » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:37 pm

(I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't seem to reply to the previous discussion about this, or even post a new topic in Forum Management, so here it goes...)

I contacted Dr. Thursday about the "last word" quotation which we all like so much, and asked him to scan his famous AMBER database for it. He got back to me very quickly and gave me the wording and reference:

A man who says the last word on a subject ought to be killed. He is a
murderer; he has slain a topic.

[from Daily News Dec 22 1904 quoted in Chesterton on
Shakespeare 159)
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Re: "Last Word" quotation

Postby Jonny » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:10 pm

Maolsheachlann wrote:(I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't seem to reply to the previous discussion about this, or even post a new topic in Forum Management, so here it goes...)


Sorry, my error. Posting in Forum Management should be possible now. Please send a PM if you any further difficulties.

Many thanks to you and Dr T for the quote info.
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