Quality Discourse Required in the Search for Truth

“The courage to enter discussions to test one’s own viewpoint with the sole objective of honing the truth, which is the emblem of first-class discourse, seems no longer the standard. This was not always the case. There is an Indian philosophy called Nyāya, the school of logic, where a standard for quality discourse was promoted. That standard was called vāda, where those with a particular conviction are encouraged to put forth their best arguments, not to seek victory over other ideas, but to do so with detachment and aimed only at discovering the truth.”

Unfortunately, the debate I see going on today in practically all spheres—and certainly in this life-and-death matter of vaccination—is not a search for truth, but a focus on justifying one’s own strongly held beliefs, which are often based on one’s attachments.

Discussion has therefore degraded to the two lower standards of public discourse that the school of Nyāya sought to discourage: jalpa, seeking victory even by resorting to fallacies and distortions; and vitaṇḍā, or the attempt to simply destroy one’s opposition without even bothering to offer a reasonable alternative. Perhaps we have become even worse, since these days we too often refuse to engage in discourse with those who oppose us and instead justify censoring others’ views.

Whom can we trust? How can we make educated decisions?  Source: Dhanurdhara Swami

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