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The Devil's Advocate in 140 Characters or Less

Is there still a role for Devil’s Advocacy in the age of social media trolls? Adopting a contrary position for the sake of debate has its origins in the Catholic Church and has become institutionalized in it’s use in refining academic writing as an "opposing view" or antithesis. But as social media trolling begins to have real-world consequences, from violence to criminal investigations, should we retire the Devil’s Advocate role once and for all? Or is there an affirmative role for a new kind of digital demon?

  • I kind of see what point you have, but I think you need to be a bit more specific. Do you have a specific instance that shows how devil's advocacy has "real-world consequences" that could support this argument well? – Suman 5 years ago
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  • I think an additional consideration for whoever writes this could also be how to handle trolls/Devil's Advocates in an academically sound and ethical matter in order to avoid whatever "real world consequences" you are referring to – Kevin 5 years ago
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  • I like the essence of this topic, but it seems too willing to dismiss the value of playing devil's advocate in an abstractly general sense simply because a very specific type of devil's advocate is exhausting its value. In other words, the topic seems too willing to dismiss the concept of contrarianism because there are people who misuse it. Suppose, hypothetically, that we got rid of all devil's advocates, what would happen then? Would people be prohibited from making opposing claims and arguments? – IsidoreIsou 5 years ago
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  • I think whoever writes this should be specific about *Where* they see these devil's advocates. As, echoing what Kevin said, the internet troll started out as a form of devil's advocacy but has since become something else. (There is a good PBS idea channel video about this topic). If we're talking about real life discussion though, there's potential for a useful form of this rousing. – Mariel 5 years ago
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