The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1063  Tuesday, 8 May 2001

From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 07 May 2001 17:05:46 -0700
Subject: 12.1034 Re: Seminars
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1034 Re: Seminars

Jack suggests that

>Clearly, we would all prefer academic debate to be 'civilized' but there
>are occasions when it is not.  I see no reason why we should sacrifice
>directness for the touchy-feely world of sustaining each other's fragile
>egos.  Either what we are doing is important, and the issues need to be
>argued with passion and conviction or we measure out our lives with
>coffee spoons.

One assumes that things can be argued with passion and conviction
without accusing people of being donnish, as you just did:

>Messrs Cox and White can retire to the senior common room if they wish.

Surely this is a very clear example of an ad hominem taking the place of
a real argument.  As Cicero would say, "when you have no argument, abuse
the plaintiff".  Or accuse him of donnishness, if that's your preferred
form of abuse.

Politeness isn't just a matter of being "touchy-feely", and your
diminutive is only an effort to evade the real ethical issues that
confront us when confront each other.  The question of why we ought to
be concerned with one another in academic debate strikes me as being no
different from the issue of why we ought to care for each other at any
other point, or for that matter, at all.


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