Daniel Davis buybuydandavis at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 13 05:08:45 CEST 2010

Carmen and I seem to be in agreement on the relation of egoism to moral 
sentiment. Damn. Can't even count on egoists to oppose morality anymore.

> Objective is affairs of the object world, which is _not_  somebody's idea of 
>what "ought to be." 

Yes. Given your interest in GS and Egoism, I'd expect us to be in agreement on 
that one.

> > I sent an email to
> > Daniel Dennett,  asking him for a reference to Rapoport's Rules of Debate he
> > advocated in  some lecture. He said he was looking for a good reference  
> Oh.  Dan.  That was not Rapoport.  That was Ed  MacNeal, and the rules for 
>debate were that you had to > state your case until the  other person could 
>articulate it correctly.  It was some kind of war.   I will think of > the name 
>in a minute. I think it was a grokduel.

No, it was Rapoport. Grokduel is interesting in itself, but it wasn't what 
Dennet had talked about.
As I said, I dug up references. I'll include the links I sent to Dennett at the 
bottom of the post. Really funny that you interviewed Rapoport. It's a small 
world after all.

> Who is Dennett?

Daniel Dennett. Along with Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard 
Dawkins, the Four Horsemen of the Counter Apocalypse - the so called New 
Atheists. Dennett is a philosopher from Tufts University, focusing on philosophy 
of mind, though he has branched out into darwinianism, evolution, and religion 
as a  natural phenomenon. A rare philosopher who usually makes sense, and has 
interesting insights.

- Dan Davis

My original email to Dennett, quoting what he said about rules of debate:
Hi. You said the following at the end of the third day of your 2009 Harvard 
Lecture about Anatol Rapoport, and Rapoports Rules. I was hoping that you had a 
reference, or better, a link to the original. Thank you.

You said of Rapoport's Rules:
Here's what you do when you have to comment on a paper.

The first thing you do is summarize the person's views so well that your goal is 

to get them to say "I wish I had put it that way."
Second, you point out things that you agree with that maybe are not commonly 
agreed to. Anything that you're an ally of the person.
Third, anything you've learned from the person.
Only after you've done those three things do you say a word of but, a word of 

It's really a wonderful lesson to learn. First of all if you do it carefully, 
you've got a very receptive audience in your target. You've already shown that 
you understand exactly what that person is trying to do, and you agree with him 
about some things he is embattled about, and he has actually taught you 
something, so that is somebody who wants to hear what you have to say.

My second email to Dennett, detailing the relevant references I found.
I found a decent reference to Rapoport's Rules of Debate in his "Fights, Games, 
and Debates".

Google book links below. I think they'll work for you. Annoyingly, I can't cut 
and past from the pages.


See page 286 snippet and select page 286 link to read pages 286,287


See page 386 snippets for citation to Carl Rogers article in ETC.
Rogers, CR "Communication: Its Blocking and Facilitation," ETC., A Review of 
General Semantics 9, (1952), pp. 83-88. 100...

There are a few abridged version of the article on the web. This page below has 
the most complete version I saw, though I actually prefer Rapoport's framing of 
the idea in his book.

Interesting that both Rogers and Rapoport are associated with General Semantics.

Some random web page that gives some context, which I cut and paste below. Hope 
this helps.

<7> In Rapoport's Fights, Games and Debates (1960), Rapoport essentially defines 

argument  as persuasion. He asserts that "the removal of threat," which he      
claims is based on Rogers' technique of permissive therapy, is one way to      
persuade (286). He claims that his method is based on Rogerian psychology      
and is designed to help one modify an opponent's image. Rapoport presents      
this method as a means to help one to prevail over an opponent in an 
Rapoport's method includes three components, from which Young, Becker and      
Pike adapt their steps of Rogerian argument. First, arguers must convey to      
opponents that they are understood, and then they must delineate the 
of opponents' positions that are valid (287). These steps function by 
threat and enticing opponents to trust and listen to the debaters, who may      
then begin describing their positions to more receptive audiences.
<8> Based on Rapoport's model of Rogerian persuasion, Young, Becker and 
Pike explain that the theory of Rogerian argument, in Rhetoric: Discovery 
and Change (1970),  

rests on the assumption that out of a need to preserve the stability of his 
image, a person will refuse to consider alternatives that he feels are 
threatening, and hence, that changing a person's image depends on 
eliminating this sense of threat. Much of men's resistance to logical 
argument seems explainable by this assumption.      
A strong sense of threat may render the reader immune to even the most carefully
reasoned and well-supported argument. (274)<9> The explicit goal    of Young, 
Becker and 

Pike's model of Rogerian argument, then, is to reduce threat    as a means of 
"changing a person's image." Although the word persuasion is not used here as it 

is by Rapoport, it is implicitly understood. Maxine Hairston    in "Carl 
Rogers's Alternative to Traditional Rhetoric" (1976) also    links Rogerian 
argument with persuasion. She interprets the "basic premise"    of Rogers' 
seminal article, "Communication: Its Blocking and its Facilitation"    as "you 
do not convert people to your point of view by threatening them    or 
challenging their values" (373). The logical conclusion to this statement    is 
that you may be able to convert people to your point of view by finding a    
method that is not threatening to them or challenging of their values. 
Hairston asserts that this insight has "profound implications for rhetoric"    
and that 

"any theory of persuasion must take it into account" (373).    Although 
Hairston, Young, Becker and Pike take for granted that Rogers' theories    are 
appropriate for use by rhetoricians as a means to persuade, this is not    the 
case. In fact, it may be antithetical to Rogers' ideas to use Rogerian 
theory  to persuade. 

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