In every sphere of thought and investigation, not just in philosophy, there is need for argument and disputation in order to help get to the truth. But philosophy is the most general sphere of investigation and disputation. It is entirely natural and proper that it must therefore also investigate and discuss argumentation itself.

     Roy Tedoff sent me the following nifty poem which well serves to introduce this topic:

You see,
The need to signify goes deep
Even the Ayatollah is convincible
When the arguments are mustered
And there's mustard on the point
Isn't it nature's nature
To work with the tools
And what's a brain for anyway
If logic's only for school
So I'm inviting everyone
Come and hear
And see the light
The truth's as plain
As the plane of your face
On a new moon moonlit night
     —Roy Tedoff

     There are, of course, those who claim not to believe in the use of rational argument, though—most curiously!—they themselves often try to use (what they would consider to be) rational argument in an attempt to convince us that using rational argument is a waste of time! (See: IRRATIONALISM )

     We must also note that no matter what you say in philosophy, there will be those who argue against you. To be a philosopher is to stand your ground at least until those arguments start to make some sense to you!

Some philosophers, I must alert you,
Will be found who will still controvert you
     But outlandish views
     Of various hues
Should def'nitely not disconcert you.
     —JSH, "Advice to a New Philosopher" (1992)

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