Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

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There is a risk of being labelled with and the holder of an opposing, sometimes odious, point of view when one acts as the Devil's Advocate. Social media seems for many to be a hotbed of free opinion, a place where one can express their viewpoint, and argue, often emotively, against the thinking of others. Along comes the Devil's Advocate and the debate is perhaps thrown into confusion. People who do not know the author of such advocacy will tend to believe that he or she holds the opinions expressed, sometimes to the writer/speaker's detriment. Those who know the writer or speaker's true philosophy will immediately realise the ploy.

This brings the role of advocatus diaboli into question as a useful tool to achieve the object desired. That object is most often to test one's own viewpoint, by arguing the opposite, with frequent skepticism. You bait those who hold your own point of view, or philosophy, to illuminate their argument against your false idea. It should, supposedly identify strengths and weakness of the argument made on both sides of the philosophical divide.

Where there are equally opposing views and arguments in a forum, surely the need for the Devil's Advocate is lost? Conversely if you venture into the crucible of a majority shared, point of view, then expressing an opposing view amongst similar thinking people will just get you into trouble. You will perhaps become the victim of vitriol and a diatribe of hatred, making the technique of being Devil's Advocate very risky indeed, if you do not have the stomach for it.

Whichever way you choose to use the role of advocatus diaboli it is going to create a contest, sometimes a bitter one. You may well declare your ploy, which defeats the object of your stratagem, but it often leaves some doubt in the minds of those who receive your view. Is there a place for this in social media forums? Could not the very impersonal nature of blogging platforms, the inability to detect a tongue in cheek comment, nor indeed a smile or a wink, make the technique inappropriate? If not, it would most certainly be a great saver of face, in those times you are on the loosing end!

Who are Ecademy's greatest advocates of the Devil?



He blogs at South of the Africa Equator. Of course Andrew does Twitter a bit - and LinkedIn: Andrew Field and I am trying Google+ too - please feel free to link up.
Harare, Zimbabwe.

RealSteveHolmes Fading away soon

cvsage-38854

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

I'd like to make it clear that what I do is nothing as trivial as playing devil's advocate, which I regard as a silly game played by overgrown short-trouser intellectual vacuities. I mean what I say and then some. I loathe people who do not say what they mean and I regard debate as a complete waste of time. Truth is there to be owned in co-operation with others who want it, not to be tossed around by babies who have no interest 9in ever finding it.

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leah lee

leahlee-705261

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

Thats very very true.

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Fay Olinsky

personalchef-34218

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

How very true... one has to be surrounded by intelligence in order to pull it off. Devious lot these old Romans.

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Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

katieellenhazeldine-186355

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

What constitutes casuistry in your book, Katie-Ellen ? Oh, Andreas...I'm not falling for that, you mischievous person :)

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Mike "Freddie" Gordon

freddienoname-93363

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

Maybe each member profile should have an option to display an alternate avatar or icon to indicate the intent of a comment. An alternative to the iMA colour profile perhaps ? And given the great pictures on your profile Andrew .. maybe animal associations would work. The blogs are often overrun with wolves (generally in sheep's clothing) .. a number of cunning foxes .. and an increasing number of badgers ! As for devils .. I'll send you my list by PM :)

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Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

katieellenhazeldine-186355

Advocatus Diaboli: You naughty Devil!

Imps of Satan. I enjoy discussion, I hate debate, I find the habitual self-appointed devil's advocates tiresome.....It's fine to be controversial if one is sincere, but not to be a clever clogs for the sake of it. There is a type of man who does that a lot, and often will have rather goat like eyes and a good numerical grounding. Casuistry is an art, but not one I personally value as highly useful in the final analysis.

1 comments