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?

  • 1
    They 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
    Jan 18, 2021 at 5:23
  • examples. @Conifold not sure why the question was closed. i think your comment misses the point
    – user62233
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:00
  • 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
    Jan 18, 2021 at 19:55
  • cool thanks @Conifold
    – user62233
    Jan 27, 2021 at 3:08
  • 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
    Jan 31, 2021 at 0:23