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Antwörter mit Paul Verschure

12. Oktober 2016

When was the last time you convinced somebody of something?

I think I just convinced you about the importance of naturalizing linguistics. Or maybe as Plato would say, to know is to recollect. So maybe I just helped you to recollect something you already knew.

But that is not necessarily how I convince people; I can also give a logical argument. Usually I have a very strong opinion about things around me. This is often the difference between an amateur and a professional – can you really unpack an opinion and present it to anyone in a logical and structured way? An amateur just gives an opinion and when that opinion starts to come into conflict with the environment, you start to back it up in a more emotional way or you start to use any of the Schopenhauer tricks to destroy the debate. I think the challenge in convincing people is to bring to consciousness all the specific steps and assumptions behind an opinion and to use that to convince somebody.

Opinions only have value if you can translate them into a change in the universe, and for that you have to be able to unpack them, give it logical structure and also to take it as a challenge for yourself. What are my assumptions behind this opinion? It is hard to bring that to the foreground. That makes the difference between someone who can be convincing and somebody who has an opinion and makes noise.

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