Amy has a great post up (delightfully rambling in a way that makes me feel much less guilty for my frequent verbal meanderings) about online arguments and people’s defensiveness and inability to accept criticism.
It’s worth a read. But what I wanted to highlight for myself (and for anyone else who might care) was this gem in the comments section where Matthew writes a very insightful response
that nicely sums up something I’ve been trying to get at for a while:
I think they real culprit here is the relativism of our age. If all truths are PERSONAL truths (�MY� truth) than an attack on any statement of mine is an attack on me. Once we lose the notion of objective truth and a desire to arrive at objective truth we also lose the ability to have civil discourse. Only if truth is objective, that is separate from me, can I understand any critique of my articulation of truth as a friendly attempt to help me see another aspect of the truth rather than as an attack on my very being.
I’ve been coming at the subject from a teacher’s perspective for a while now: people just aren’t being taught to think. Logic and argumentation are just not covered in schools much less philosophical inquiry. But I think Matthew points to an even deeper cause, why these basic cornerstones of the intellectual life are being so roundly ignored. Relativism, my old enemy, you strike again!