Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Question of the Day #8: Intellectual Bullying

How would you define intellectual bullying? Is there such a thing as bullying someone with the truth?

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At 11/06/2005 2:13 PM, Blogger vjack declaimed...

I would argue that there isn't such a thing. Bullying implies physical, verbal, or relational aggression in an interaction involving a power differential. The closest thing to "intellectual bullying" I can imagine would be verbal aggression by an educated individual. However, I'm not sure if this is what you mean.

At 11/06/2005 7:58 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Interesting question ! I certainly thnk so. You can try to force people to believe anything. However, to try to bully people into accepting, say, non-violence, or independence, can't possibly come to any fruit. Or doing war to enable peace.

At 11/06/2005 10:39 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

There are certainly several ways in which one can verbally intimidate. Some of these ways can be said to have intellectual subtlety. Can you do this simply by telling the truth? Yes. If you are in a debate with another person who is a shy, self-conscious type, and you point out that they have used or pronounced a word incorrectly, you can fluster that person to the point where he/she is no longer able to concentrate and argue effectively. If you know this person is sensitive and do this on purpose, you are unethical.

Not exactly what you had in mind, I think, but that's as close to intellectual bullying as I can get. Another form might be using one's credentials or reputation to intimidate, but that is not necessarily a "truth" in the sense that it makes one's arguments more weighty.

At 11/07/2005 11:22 AM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

I think that there can be an ego or force of will bullying that would "force" someone into accepting an intellectual position or claim.

One example would be the aggressive yet very charming salesman, or maybe a boss convincing an employee about something through authority alone.

Or maybe a professor who gets an underling to accept his assertion by saying "im a professor so I know more about this than you do"

Is that some kind of argument from authority fallacy?

At 11/07/2005 1:51 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I think I agree with Aaron- at least regarding the context in which we typically operate, the fallacy of arguing from authority seems to be the closest match to the concept of "intellectual bullying."

Because what's regular bullying, anyway? Someone who has more impressive physical credentials than another person uses those to his advantage to the point of reaching a physical concession (black eye, etc.) As an intellectual parallel, it would seem to be someone who uses impressive intellectual credentials (academic degrees, books read/written, debates participated in, etc.) to the advantage of reaching an intellectual concenssion.

At 11/09/2005 12:27 AM, Blogger LJ declaimed...

No definition for you, just a more erudite phraseology:

Epistemic Terrorism

At 8/16/2010 3:18 AM, Blogger ming declaimed...

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