Monty Python - The Argument Clinic

If you've ever met or seen philosophers in action, you've probably noticed a couple of things: they're wicked smart, they're incredibly nit-picky about defining their terms (and getting others to do the same), and they love to argue.

I can see why many people would find these traits off-putting—in fact, that's kind of why the Athenians sentenced Socrates to death!— but I also hope you can see why they're important, so I thought I'd share a couple of examples.

In the first clip, we have the famous Argument Clinic skit from Monty Python, in which a fundamental disagreement about just what exactly an argument is (in the technical sense: a collection of statements connected to establish a definite proposition) leads to another sense of an argument (the one understood more colloquially: a quarrel, or mere contradiction between disagreeing parties).

And, thanks to former President George W. Bush, here is a great and hilarious example of what can happen when you don't define your terms clearly:

Looks like the choice is yours: would you rather be thought nit-picky or an absolute idiot? ;)
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