I think that you are correct.Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote: ↑Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:43 pmI have often wondered just how powerful language alone can actually be. Is it possible to convince anyone of anything by just saying the right thing? Perhaps it's more of a psychological question than a philosophical one, but imagine a machine capable of looking into your brain which knows everything about you, and everything that's ever happened to it. It knows exactly which argumentation styles that are the most convincing to you, your favorite words, your current emotions, and every corollary that follows. Using nothing more than words and talking to you to get you to believe in something, would this machine be able make you believe in anything? Are words enough to invoke revelations powerful enough to change very deep-rooted beliefs, even clear irrationalities like convincing you the law of identity isn't actually true?
If the answer is no, how do you think this affects philosophical arguments? Are some debates simply meaningless to get into with the intent of convincing the other person?
My answer is, within a limited amount of time - no. Given an infinite amount of time, I lean more toward thinking this hypothetical machine would be able to convince you of anything. It's hard for us to imagine how an omniscient thing would actually work in reality, but given what I know of human psychology, people don't usually end up changing their world-views, at least the important ones, from a single discussion. It's usually about having good arguments laminate on their mind for an extended period of time, and build up after consequent discussions. If indoctrination is any constellation, otherwise smart people also have no problem of being convinced of even the irrational things, in certain situations. Granted this often involves omitted information as well, but it's all relative to this topic.
Anyone can be convinced of anything that is within their own powers of comprehension. I think that's why the church keeps dumbing down their message.