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Maciamo
04-05-05, 09:41
Recently, some people have made me feel as if they didn't understand something that seems absolutely natural to me, that I (or anybody else) could argue for or against an issue without having any direct involvement in it, or even against one's own feelings.

For example, in all the threads relalted to Japan's war crimes and the Sino-Japanese relations, I have taken the side of China and othe Asian countries against Japan, eventhough my wife is Japanese, I live in Japan and like Japan so much that I made this site. Some people may think by reading only these threads that I am "anti-Japanese", while I am not. Japan's relations with its neighbours is of little concern to me personally. I don't really care who abused the other the most. I don't have any friends who have suffered directly Japan's invasion of Asian countries. So why accuse Japan, against my best interests ? Because I have a deep sense of humanism and like defending the victims, even if I don't know them, and once I have started and argument, I can get quite passionate about it until I prove my point (I should have become a lawyer :p ). I could of course have taken the defence of other side, and argue as passionately about it. In this case I took the victims' side because of my humanistic sense. Deep inside me, I don't give a damn, but it's so fun to learn about a sensitive topic, understand both sides' feelings, then destroy one side's argumentation.

In the thread Should Japan abandon the "16-rays rising sun flag" ? (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16795), I have realised that many people either lacked my humanistic sense, felt that Japan had not be ashamed of its past atrocities, or really didn't have any feelings about the issue, as quite a few disagreed that Japan had any issue with its war flag.
Again, I don't personally care, and even like the design of that rising sun flag, as I explained in this post (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=200544&postcount=49). But once I try to understand the victims' feelings, and have already decided to take their side, I have to continue my argument to the end. It is just not logical that compared to Germany, Japan was allowed to keep its war flag while committing even more atrocities than the Nazi. And for me if something is not logical or rational, I just cannot accept it. I think it's even stronger than my humanism or any moral convictions (because these are always subjective or bound to some feelings of compassion or fear, but reason/logics is not).

Maybe there is a bit of distant personal feelings in my insistence that the treatment of Japan should have been the same as Germany's. Maybe it is because of my distant German roots, and I just cannot accept that Japan (even being married to a Japanese, and probably will have half-Japanese children) get a preferential treatment to that of Germany or Austria. But again, I am not German or Japanese, and I don't really care personally, so my argument is for logic's sake, so as to be coherent with the rest of my argumentation in other related threads.

One notable thread where I defended one side of the argument against my own personal feelings was The Gay Marriage Controversy (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7090). I don't feel very comfortable with the idea of homosexuality (especially male one) and feel even a bit disgusted by it, but I argued the whole thread that gay marriage should be legal and that homosexuality is natural and not a personal choice, because it is what I believe is true. Reason is almost always stronger than personal feelings for me.

What about you ? Can you easily play the devil's advocate ? Can yo get passionate about things you don't really care about, just for the sake of winning a logical argument ?

MeAndroo
04-05-05, 18:37
What about you ? Can you easily play the devil's advocate ? Can yo get passionate about things you don't really care about, just for the sake of winning a logical argument ?

Absolutely. I had the best responses come during the past election, but it's a great way to engage people on any topic. Playing devil's advocate isn't just fun, it opens me up to a whole new way of thinking. By purposefully moving into a different thought process, I'm able to not only discover new arguments on either side, but also the holes/fallacies in my logic as well. It's also a spectacular way to separate the intelligent from the pseudo, and I take a perhaps slightly sadistic pleasure in knocking arrogant, ignorant people playing the intellectual down a peg.

I've also noticed the lack of ability to cope with the devil's advocate can manifest itself in otherwise calm rational beings regarding certain topics, but I suppose everyone has their buttons. The one thing I've learned is that logic is not always enough to satisfy people.

Pachipro
04-05-05, 20:16
So why accuse Japan, against my best interests ? Because I have a deep sense of humanism and like defending the victims, even if I don't know them, and once I have started and argument, I can get quite passionate about it until I prove my point (I should have become a lawyer ). I could of course have taken the defence of other side, and argue as passionately about it. In this case I took the victims' side because of my humanistic sense. Deep inside me, I don't give a damn, but it's so fun to learn about a sensitive topic, understand both sides' feelings, then destroy one side's argumentation.

But once I try to understand the victims' feelings, and have already decided to take their side, I have to continue my argument to the end.
I feel the same way. I can always play the devil's advocate as I am "cursed" with being able to see both sides of an argument/debate clearly. No matter how passionate I may feel personally, I can always understand the other's point of view and completely comprehend where they are coming from.

You really are a trickster Maciamo, but I just "knew" you were taking the devils advocate position on some subjects. At first I was a little bewildered and debated fiercely with you. It took me a while to see it, but I eventually did and understood completely your positions and reasoning and enjoyed taking an opposite view. Your research on some subjects was just flawless and I had a tough time debating you. But I enjoyed it anyway and look forward to more.

No matter which side one takes, I can easily take the other (after some research of course) and throughly enjoy debating with them. :wave:

Pachipro
04-05-05, 20:18
Absolutely. I had the best responses come during the past election, but it's a great way to engage people on any topic. Playing devil's advocate isn't just fun, it opens me up to a whole new way of thinking. By purposefully moving into a different thought process, I'm able to not only discover new arguments on either side, but also the holes/fallacies in my logic as well. It's also a spectacular way to separate the intelligent from the pseudo, and I take a perhaps slightly sadistic pleasure in knocking arrogant, ignorant people playing the intellectual down a peg.
Ditto for me! :evil: :bikkuri: :box: :silly: :hey: :emblaugh: :balloon: :bravo: :wave:

Doc
04-05-05, 21:34
Do I enjoy playing devil's advocate? My answer is: HELL YEAH! No matter strongly I feel on a certain issue, and how strongly I disagree with a person I still prefer to open up a debate on all sides of the issue. It keeps you open minded, and helps you better understand where everybody is coming from. It also shows the hypocracy and fallacies in your arguments as well others. Not only that, but it can also help you come to an agreement at times when everybody's point of view is different from one another. As much as I get from some of the debates here, I do enjoy seeing all point of view to better understand where everybody is coming from. It helps make things more reasonable and logical that way. Of course much MeAndRoo said, logic isn't the only motive that should come out of a debate.

Doc:ramen::happy:

kirei_na_me
04-05-05, 21:39
I'm often described as being diplomatic. I had to admit, though, that it is harder when I'm personally involved. I still do it, it's just more difficult.

Elizabeth
05-05-05, 00:49
Playing devil's advocate isn't just fun, it opens me up to a whole new way of thinking. By purposefully moving into a different thought process, I'm able to not only discover new arguments on either side, but also the holes/fallacies in my logic as well. It's also a spectacular way to separate the intelligent from the pseudo, and I take a perhaps slightly sadistic pleasure in knocking arrogant, ignorant people playing the intellectual down a peg.

I've also noticed the lack of ability to cope with the devil's advocate can manifest itself in otherwise calm rational beings regarding certain topics, but I suppose everyone has their buttons. The one thing I've learned is that logic is not always enough to satisfy people.
This is certainly a closer match to my understanding of the term 'devil's advocate than Maciamo's explanation. Not having a personal stake on any side, an initial feeling of neutrality, or taking on one side for any particular reasons (logic, humanism etc) is really totally irrelevant (the point being to argue against natural inclination/previously stated views and majority opinion). In style and spirit, this type of argumentation should be purely out of interest and enlightenment, finding logical flaws in the other side and drawing them to their natural conclusion. In an ideal world it should allow the participant to flip positions or maneuver their strategy as opinion and reasoning from the opposition unfolds, which is often hampered unfortunately by opponents that don't play so fair (resort to emotional appeal, refuse to strictly define their terminology, deny having ever said what they're accused of etc). In other words, move where the logic and facts take you without regard to any moral sense of which side is right or wrong.

misa.j
05-05-05, 17:39
I can be a devil's advocate when I am ivolved, interested and have enough knowledge in the issue, if not my arguement will just fall apart, so I don't even try to be on the opposite side. Critical thinking is a necessary skill for so many situations, and I need to practice more.

Pararousia
05-05-05, 17:49
The problem for me in playing the devil's advocate is that my mean, nasty side comes out. *L* Most people don't want to deal with that! *L*

Now someone tell me what this icon means? http://www.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/bikkuri.gif

*heheh*

Pachipro
05-05-05, 18:29
Now someone tell me what this icon means? http://www.eupedia.com/forum/images/smilies/bikkuri.gif

bikkuri means to be surprised, astonished, or amazed. To a certain degree it can also mean to be shocked by something.

Mycernius
05-05-05, 20:07
I do find it hard not argue against what I believe in. I have on occassion played devils advocate just to be awkward, because the other person is just so confused about what they are arguing against. I suppose argue is the wrong word. I don't really lose my temper when having an argument or debate about something, I let the other person do that. It can be quite fun watching someone get more and more wound up, because as they get wound up their argument starts to fall apart. That's when you start to point out their holes and then they get more fustrated. I can be a real swine when the mood takes me. But I do enjoy a good debate, especially with someone who knows their stuff. You can learn from them as the debate goes on.

Brooker
06-05-05, 22:27
I think it's annoying when people play devil's advocate because in a conversation I want to know about what the other person's thoughts are rather than just one possible random perspective on the issue. I feel a bond to someone when we can learn about each other through conversation. Playing devil's advocate doesn't allow for that.

Duo
06-05-05, 23:39
I like to do it sometimes in issue totally against me. Just for the fun of it with friends. Once I really fooled a friend.

miu
09-05-05, 12:33
I think it's annoying when people play devil's advocate because in a conversation I want to know about what the other person's thoughts are rather than just one possible random perspective on the issue. I feel a bond to someone when we can learn about each other through conversation. Playing devil's advocate doesn't allow for that.

I agree - I find conversations like that rather pointless. Unless you're a politician with a cause, of course ;P People who continously play the devil's advocate give me a rather cold and calculative impression of themselves - maybe they can even come off as smug. I do admit that I can be very oppinionated, so I suppose I just see it as a conversation strategy which gets you what you want.

Revenant
11-05-05, 17:30
I actually never try to get passionate about anything. I have opinions, and I will say them, with the idea that, I may not know everything. Strong likes, or dislikes, are never objective, and I have had my opinions, or beliefs driven over by zealous people. That isn't to say that my opinion is invalid, just that those who were arguing the other side, were so blind in their zeal, that they didn't even notice I was agreeing with them (i.e. homosexuality and Christianity, in which I am a Christian, but also agree with the seperation of state and religion).

I have had other people comment, that they got annoyed at reading my posts, in which I actually argue with myself. That was funny.