2 thoughts on “Begs the Question

  1. I’m with you, Bob. Unfortunately, there are too many know-it-all radical descriptivists out there who insist that if enough people use a word or phrase a certain way, even if they do so as a result of failing to take the time to learn the meaning of the phrase before using it, then the new usage is just as correct.


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  2. Reminds me of Simon Blackburn’s essay ( here) in which he writes:
    Toleration gives us the dictum attributed to Voltaire, that I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Relativism, by contrast, chips away at our right to disapprove of what anybody says. Relativism names a loose cluster of attitudes, but the central message is that there are no asymmetries of reason and knowledge, objectivity and truth. There are two relativistic mantras: “Who is to say?” (who is to say which opinion is better?) and “That’s just your opinion” (your opinion is on all fours with any other). There are only different views, each true “for” those who hold them. Relativism in this sense goes beyond counselling that we must try to understand those whose opinions are different. It is not only that we must try to understand them, but also that we must recognize a symmetry of standing. Their opinions “deserve the same respect” as our own. So, at the limit, we may have western values, but they have others; we have a western view of the universe, they have theirs; we have western science, they have traditional science; and so on.


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