Do philosophers ever admit to arguing for things they themselves don't believe?


Do philosophers ever admit to arguing for things they themselves don't believe, without that meaning the former is not really the case, but merely explicative or similar of something they do believe.

There is of course Socratic irony, but that is not what I meant; that pretence is in order to reach a conclusion the ironist does believe, even if that is not obvious at first.

Either way, is there a phrase for it?


Posted 2021-01-18T03:25:30.413

Reputation: 71

Question was closed 2021-01-18T15:51:02.787

1They do. Depending on context, it may be called "playing devil's advocate" or "being charitable" (e.g. when reconstructing/modifying someone else's argument to a strongest possible form), sometimes both. – Conifold – 2021-01-18T05:23:46.960

examples. @Conifold not sure why the question was closed. i think your comment misses the point – anon – 2021-01-18T18:00:49.630

Perhaps you are referring to hypocrisy/insincerity? Arguing for a point while behaving as if not believing it, do what I say not what I do? Some are cynical enough to admit that too. – Conifold – 2021-01-18T19:55:32.453

cool thanks @Conifold – anon – 2021-01-27T03:08:06.610

Also, rhetoric, as employed for formal debating, where you do not choose the points you argue for. 'steel manning' is partially relevant, the Socratic equivalent of a straw man. Plato included what he called the 'noble lie' in The Republic. What we would now probably call propaganda. – CriglCragl – 2021-01-31T00:23:13.387

No answers