A Contract Between You and Me: The Philosopher’s Agreement
I assume that you are a thinking person. If you are a thinking person, you are a philosopher, and I ask you to join me in what I call the “Philosopher’s Agreement” as you read on.
The Philosopher’s Agreement is a traditional agreement philosophers have observed to place the focus on ideas and not their originators. The term ad hominem refers to an attack made on a philosopher instead of the ideas of the philosopher, and ad hominem attacks of course violate the Philosopher’s Agreement.
The Philosopher’s Agreement goes much further than merely prohibiting ad hominem attacks — it supports the philosopher’s search for ever greater understanding. According to this agreement, you have two options when you detect a flaw in my presentation:
1. If you cannot see how to correct the flaw, it is your privilege to describe the flaw and your obligation to share any thoughts you have about how to correct the flaw.
2. If you can see how to correct the flaw, it is your obligation to describe both the flaw and your solution for correcting the flaw.