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September 15, 2006

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Richard Mascall

If we are seeking the most efficient process of establishing a valid argument, might it not be better to adopt a totally negative approach rather than a charitable one ? If Proposer P makes a sloppy or incomplete argument, perhaps it would be faster for Responder R to simply identify the weak point and state it. Proposer P can then concentrate on the specific fallacy or omission and restate his argument. If Responder R adopts a charitable approach, might there not be a danger he will rephrase the proposal in such a way that actually changes the point, rather than simply eliminating an error or making good something that was missing ?

In other words, should the responsibility for making an argument reside totally with a Proposer and the responsibility of a Responder be totally to search for weaknesses ? In the everyday world, is this not how our political and legal systems work (for better or worse) ?

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