On the Path to Philosphership: Being Proven Wrong
Updated: Feb 17
(This is part of a mini-series on Philosocom on becoming a philosopher. Here are the rest of the material:
Being proven wrong is one of the most important things one can have as a philosopher, no matter how highly he or she sees themselves as. When you are proven wrong, and you're ready to accept it, then you get one step away from delusion, which is the opposite of truth.
No matter how highly you think of yourself, and no matter how much you think your philosophy is true, you need to be prepared to be proven wrong whenever possible.
Many people in the world believe they are autistic regardless of the fact that they were not officially diagnosed. For the sake of this example, we need to come with terms that, should we be ever get a different diagnosis than autism, we might experience anger, frustration and so on. The reason for that is simple: Our egos might get hurt whenever we are to be proved wrong about something that we see as integral to ourselves.
Therefore, a person who strives to see the truth, must come in terms with the possibility that the truth is far other than he or she thought to themselves as. I am only calling myself an autist, for this matter, because I was diagnosed around a decade ago.
Some people may refuse going to a diagnosis themselves, but in this case, as long as one can be proven wrong, and it is affordable to be diagnosed, then why not give it a go, and test your sense of self, like a philosopher would do so for their own arguments?
This is where the "scientific" aspect of philosophy comes into play, as long as one's arguments can be tested in practice. Should a philosopher not test their hypothesis, and see if it's true for themselves, then they might risk sinking even further, into a possible delusion. Of course, I'm talking on cases where the risk is worth it, along with the available resources.
I was accused of being a narcissist by some others along my internet career, so in order to see if their accusation is true, I went to my psychologist and asked him about this, and he told me that it isn't the case. You see, mere criticism is not always enough, as the criticism at hand could be false, whether intended or not.
This is why, on the other hand, criticism should not entirely be seen as if it was a "Torah from Sinai", or in English, as something that cannot be doubted by either logic, or another professional opinion.
The fact that someone may try to prove you wrong, does not mean by itself that you're wrong. Doubt therefore should be played on both sides -- on yours and on your critic/s. Question hard enough, and you might be closer to the truth.
In order to avoid hypocrisy, I try to open myself to be disproved, despite my sensitivity. It's why I allow commenting on my site and why I openly give my email address (at the bottom of any page as of now).
People throughout the years have said quite nasty things to me, but I am aware that some of my sensitivity must be sacrificed in the name of the occupation I gave to myself. After all, without criticism, no philosopher can evolve, which makes philosophy in general something that shouldn't be completely solitary or private.
The biggest flaw when it comes to counterarguments, is you being offended by them, as if they necessarily speak to you personally. To be a good philosopher you must put your sensitivities aside and try not to take things too personally.
Remember this: the fact that someone tries to prove you wrong, does not mean that you can't do it too for their own counterargument. Speak from your rationale, and not from the heart, and then you might be less insulted by criticism.
Of course, it goes both ways, when I say that discussions should not justify harassment or bullying. Philosophy should not justify any of these, especially given that one of the sides is just not interested in continuing the conversation.
You must put your own limits, and your opponent/critic must respect them vice versa. The point of philosophy is the contemplation of the truth, not to show others how superior and/or correct you are.
And finally, it goes without saying, that deception should not play a part in a philosophical discussion, as deception is the exact opposite of truth-seeking; it keeps you farther from it. One should not be deceived that he or she are wrong, but rather, being rationally proven so.
Should they disagree with you, assuming that your counterargument/s is/are true, then that's technically their own problem. If you are indeed correct, you've at least shed some potential light on the case; a light that might help the disagreeing opponent in the future.