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Source: How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (Revised 1972 ed.), p. 145 Bottom - 146 Top.

  The second general maxim of critical reading is as obvious as the first, but it needs explicit statement, nevertheless, and for the same reason. It is RULE 10, and it can be expressed thus: WHEN YOU DISAGREE, DO SO REASONABLY, AND NOT DISPUTATIOUSLY OR CONTENTIOUSLY. There is no point in winning an argument if you know or suspect you are wrong. Practically, of course, it may get you ahead in the world for a short time. But honesty is the better policy in the slightly longer run.
  We learned this maxim first from Plato and Aristotle. In a passage in the Symposium, this interchange occurs:

  [1.] I cannot refute you, Socrates, said Agathon: Let us assume that what you say is true.
  Say rather, Agathon, that you cannot refute the truth; for Socrates is easily refuted.

The passage is echoed in a remark of Aristotle’s in the Ethics. “It would be thought to be better,” he says,

  indeed to be our duty, for the sake of maintaining the truth even to destroy what touches us closely, especially as we are philosophers or lovers of wisdom; for, while both are dear, piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.

Plato and Aristotle here give us advice that most people ignore. Most people think that winning the argument is what matters, not learning the truth.

How does 1 above exemplify RULE 10 above?

2

I cannot refute you, Socrates, said Agathon: Let us assume that what you say is true.

Say rather, Agathon, that you cannot refute the truth; for Socrates is easily refuted.

This exemplifies the importance of advocating for the truth, because truth in itself is irrefutable. Socrates, as a clever man, could make many arguments of many sorts. Truth, however, is sacrosanct. This is a clever literary prose by Socrates that points to an error in Agathon's statement;

In Agathon's word choice, he indicates that it is Socrates's ability to create a strong argument that creates truth.

Socrates's retort is that it is in the truth itself that creates the strong argument. And if one were to ignore the truth, it would be easy to raise an argument, if only for the sake of making an argument.

I hope this is not to politically charged, but we see the issue of arguing for the sake of being contentious in the recent claims regarding the attendance of the US presidential inauguration. There is a true number of people in attendance. But that does not seem to prohibit others from attempting to refute the size. Both sides of the argument cannot be right, given that the truth is a specific quantitative value. But without credence for the truth, that will not prevent either side from making an argument. It is only if both sides can agree to respect the sanctity of the truth that the argument will end. As Aristotle says, "piety requires us to honor truth above our friends" or in this case, above our political dispositions.

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