Must Good Causes Compete?
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1993 Spring; 2(2): 133-141.
I want to look at a range of difficulties that seem endemic to controversy as such. Some of the difficulties are psychological, but that does not mean that they are accidental, neurotic oddities of particular disputants. They afflict almost everybody who must argue about something important. Other difficulties are intrinsic in the nature of human life -- clashes between rival values, needs, and ideals, places where no fully satisfactory resolution seems attainable. Our intellectual tradition has, on the whole, emphasized the value of competitiveness in advancing knowledge. It has favored the idea of "dialectic" -- a fertile clash among ideas generating new truths, a kind of lawsuit where debate between the advocates enables judge and jury to reach a proper conclusion. There is a great deal in this notion; it can work, but it has limitations that need attention....
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