After one of our recent weekly meetings one of our club members (who shall remain nameless) expressed concern about the treatment of another club member (who also shall remain nameless) at the meeting. Anyway to cut a long story short, Kathryn felt it necessary to offer a consoling word of explanation to Sam after his evangelistic beliefs and ideas were mercilessly scrutinized, criticized and questioned by several other members of the meeting. And it is true that it would certainly have appeared as though we were all in fact ganging up on poor Sam. This was probably due to the fact that we were all indeed ganging up on poor Sam.
Anyway this did get me thinking: My own position is that there was no consoling needed in this situation. It seems to me that this is after all one of the things that we in the philosophy club do (note I did not say that it was the only thing). That is, if I hold an idea or belief, call it x, then one of the things that I do as a philosopher is to submit x to whatever tests that those around me or the world in general can throw at it. After all as a philosopher I can only benefit from testing x in such a way. If I am right and x is a good idea/belief then in principle it should stand up to such tests and my convictions will be confirmed. If however x is faulty in some way or just downright wrong then by submitting x to such tests then I can come to learn of its problems and either correct or reject x, whichever is appropriate. This much seems to be self evident to me and I have little doubt that it would be self evident to others in the club as well. Hence as a group of philosophers it seems that this testing of our ideas and/or beliefs is, as I said above, just something that we do. It is also something that we all benefit from. As such I feel that Sam needs no consoling after his grilling since this is something that he should expect if he hangs out with us. My question here has two parts: first, is this line of reasoning sound? the second is, am I right in expecting Sam to just keep up with whats going on in the club or should we take time to consolingly explain to him how this thing works?
Of particular interest here is, what do you think Sam?