Saturday, May 15, 2004


Intellectual Honesty

In section 370 of Morgenröte, Nietzsche enjoins:
Never keep back or bury in silence that which can be thought against your thoughts! Give it praise! It is among the foremost requirements of honesty of thought. (tr. R.J. Hollingdale)
Nietzsche's recommendation is part and parcel of the method of scholastic disputation, as described by Josef Pieper in his book Guide to Thomas Aquinas (New York: New American Library, 1964), pp. 39-40:
It can happen to anyone reading, say, the Summa Against the Pagans, that he will come unsuspectingly upon a chapter in which Thomas expounds the arguments of the opposite camp; if theological matters are under discussion, these arguments may well be heretical; yet the reader will almost be inclined to consider the arguments irrefutable -- so entirely without bias does Thomas present them.
See also Pieper on p. 77:
There was one rule of the disputatio legitima which made this kind of listening mandatory: No one was permitted to answer directly to the interlocutor's objection; rather, he must first repeat the opposing objection in his own words, thus explicitly making sure that he understood what his opponent had in mind. Let us for a moment imagine that the same rule were put into effect again nowadays, with infraction of it resulting in automatic disqualification. How this would clear the air in public debate!

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