A Taxonomy of Polemists

The following are several non-discrete categories of polemists.

  1. The Poser
    The term “poser” is here used non-pejoratively. The Poser is simply the polemist who offers arguments and/or tones not his/her own. This is a normal and effective device employed by those new to the topic, and who would like to assess the counter-arguments against his/her own. He/she may take a more aggressive tone in an attempt to quickly elicit the most compelling responses for honest assessment.
  2. The One-Way Valve
    This dogmatic polemist rarely asks questions. The dialog is one-way. He/she rarely possess the open-mindedness he/she expect of his/her audience. He/she often simply repeats (often simply copying & pasting) arguments he/she has heard, and any refutations of those arguments or counter-arguments are simply ignored. They often see no shame in their unwarranted dogmatism.
  3. The Idealist
    This inexperienced polemist believes that the actual arguments are those with whom he/she is directly engaged. They become easily frustrated with the lack of understanding and open-mindedness of their opponents. As the idealist matures, he/she begins to understand that the actual audience are those silent readers at the periphery, and modifies their arguments accordingly.
  4. The Torn Crotch
    This small-minded polemist has no shame. He/she will repeat arguments that they know to be in error, yet continue to repeat them. When forced into a corner by those patient enough to pursue them in their game, they will simply remove the torn trousers of their current argument, and try on a new pair of rhetorical trousers with an equally large tear in the crotch of logic, and with no apparent shame.
  5. The Logician
    This experienced and erudite polemist attempts to distill arguments to their true rudimentary elements, and to formulate rigorous syllogisms that can be more clearly assessed. Logicians are often scorned for their rigor, especially by those who find slippery free-form argumentation better suited for their erroneous or weak positions.
  6. The Indexer
    This polemist simply invokes philosophers/theologians/scientists without laying out the actual relevant argument. They assume their interlocutor has the responsibly of finding the source and extracting the relevant argument. In many cases, the Indexer does not actually understand the argument of the mind they invoke, much less lay it out coherently.
  7. The Economist
    This mature polemist simply ignores interlocutors who add nothing to the conversation. He/She will keep his/her arguments rigorous with clear examples and customizes his/her arguments for the silent audience on the periphery. The Economist opts out of arguments that do not support his/her core position, and will even confront those on his/her team who put forward flawed arguments.
  8. The Modeler
    This polemist models well-formed arguments so that others of his/her own persuasion can learn to employ similar arguments. They are focused on a balance of rigor, coherence, creative rhetoric and cogency. The Modeler is often undervalued since the positive effects of his/her tutorage are not always immediately visible.
  9. The Archivist
    This meta-polemist prods the opposition in an attempt to generate arguments so that he/she can identify, extract and categorize arguments or fallacies. He/she often represents a position not genuinely or deeply held. The authors of sites that provide a taxonomy of and examples of logical fallacies and cognitive biases (and polemists?) are often Archivists.

  10. (Note I did not introduce “The Troll” since the term is too often employed by those who simply encounter strong opposition to their beliefs.)
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