Thursday, January 8, 2009


Bulverism is, as one person in our class mentioned, a "pervasive" method of thought in society today. We are so quick to assume the other person is wrong that we will not address the actual issue at hand. The problem with this idea is that it discounts reason from the whole equation. 

One example I have seen in recent months involves the voter's choice between candidates. Many people chose their candidate, then tried to prove why the other was wrong. The problem is that both sides must be considered first. A person cannot choose without first proving to himself or herself that one of the two is wrong. 

Why is this first approach illogical? As Lewis explains, "the forces discrediting reason, themselves depend on reason." In essence, this means that a Bulverist is trying to use logic to prove something wrong before the correct thing is proved right. Does this make sense? Say I am arguing that a person chose the wrong orange from a basket of two oranges. I might say that it does not look ripe and is small. However, if I cannot see the other orange, how can I truly make a judgement that the first orange is worse? Besides, I am proving that the first orange is bad using logic. I cannot use logic because I began with a terrible assumption, that the other orange is bad. Beyond that, by throwing out the reasons promoted by the other person, I have effectively taken reason and logic out of the discussion in general.

As another student put it, this "self-destructive" reasoning called Bulverism gets us nowhere. Instead, we must consider the actual issues at hand. Neither personal attacks nor personal pain have a place in true discussion. The truth must always be sought after and longed for. 

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