Daniel Dennet on how to compose a successful critical commentary

1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.

2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

– Daniel Dennet

From this brain pickings blog post.

1 Comment leave a comment below

  1. This is great!
    I /want/ to behave like this, but in the rush of trying to make progress quickly, I find myself skipping ahead too far.
    I guess what I need to do is realize that by following the right steps, I’ll actually move things forward *faster*.