Comment by buck_farmer on Pretending to be Wise · 2009-02-19T23:52:29.000Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A variation of this that I am very guilty of is only fighting my arguments on the other party's territory.

Instead of taking a position myself I just "try to understand" the other party's argument and in the process lead them down the garden path to a contradiction. When pressed on what I think, I usually reply "I don't know" or "I'm not sure."

Socrates seems to have fathered this tactic. He never claimed to be wise (but we call him wise).

Respectfully, I don't think he ended up all that wise, and neither am I when I argue this way. It does make me seem very wise, if only because it confounds my counterparties and I leave no target for counter-attack.