Debating तर्कः

I am always blown away by the number of things I learn from others in debates and discussions. 

A note of warning is in order though.
  • The right intention: Agreement on essential truth.
    • I like to debate to reach an agreement on the essential truth being discussed, rather than to nitpick on the unimportant peripherals, just show my smarts or escape the need to admit defeat.
    • Flaws of intention listed in the Sulabhā-janaka-saMvAda in (Śāntiparva / Book 12, Chapter 308) SG15.
  • Coherence of argument
    • Correctness vs humbleness: I prefer to be precise and clear in debates - something which is occasionally (and wrongly IMO) perceived as arrogance. Just as in mathematics, there are no foolish, humble or arrogant statements when debating facts and processes - only correct and incorrect ones. Similarly, arguments are simply sound or unsound, and that is what I usually seek to establish. I find it better to call the bluff behind solidly held beliefs (in the context of a debate). Quietly accepting the claim 1+1 = 3 is not a sign of humbleness, and I strongly believe that this clarity should extend to socio-political discrouse among familiars!
    • Avoid fallacies in argument. (Wiki list)
  • Adapt the principle of charity. (Wiki)
    • Nassim's summary: "You can attack what a person *said* or what the person *meant*. The former is more sensational. The mark of a charlatan is to defend his position or attack a critic by focusing on *some* of his/her specific statement ("look at what he said") rather than attacking his position ("look at what he means"), the latter of which requires a broader knowledge of the proposed idea."
    • A way to gauge the essence of what one's position is: tAtparya-nirNaya (IMG)
  • Avoid flaws of expression.
    • Sulabhā-janaka-saMvAda in (Śāntiparva / Book 12, Chapter 308)  SG15.
Tricks for dealing with mala-fide debates or propaganda arguments from pretentious dunces: FB15, KV.

A note on irreverence to over-extended authority

My own experience of causing erudite scholars (RG, NiMi, ViSu, StTi, JaSc... ) to steam through the ears tells me its simply not worth it to give a damn (beyond issuing some basic clarification/ opening for friendship). Usually the steam dissipates after some time.

Ultimately you take what ever you find valuable from them without unnecessary ego issues on your side, and let those afflicted by vidyA-mada etc.. roil in the murk of their own follys. Somehow the first word that jumps to my mind for such curmudgeons is "स्थविर" ( = thera in sihalese, I believe).