I noticed that the objection of dismissal on length (without substantial consideration) has come up here at UD yet again. I think it appropriate to note its fallacious character where considerable reflection is required. (And BTW, a quote from a serious source is a legitimate approach as I will shortly exemplify.)
Accordingly, let me headline a comment I just made in the Egnor vs a materialist neuroscientist thread:
KF, 15: >>[I]f a philosophical claim on any serious matter fits neatly into a nutshell, it belongs there. There is always an issue of substantial exposition, cross-check against material facts, establishing credible coherence and comparative, balanced explanatory power. This is not a business of 140 or 280 character tweets or rhetorically loaded sloganeering. We need substance, and that’s why a serious phil work may take 50 pp to establish a pivotal point. Short summaries and headlines may indeed summarise, promote and link, but they do not generally speaking establish a substantial matter. (And BTW, that’s one of the few things that that notorious tabloid Daily Mail is exemplary on: header, bullet points, exposition.) KF
PS: In The Laws, Bk X, Plato speaks eloquently to the demand for arbitrary brevity:
Ath. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another. Whether these stories have in other ways a good or a bad influence, I should not like to be severe upon them, because they are ancient; but, looking at them with reference to the duties of children to their parents, I cannot praise them, or think that they are useful, or at all true. Of the words of the ancients I have nothing more to say; and I should wish to say of them only what is pleasing to the Gods. But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe.
Cle. One such teacher, O Stranger, would be bad enough, and you imply that there are many of them, which is worse.
Ath. Well, then; what shall we say or do?-Shall we assume that some one is accusing us among unholy men, who are trying to escape from the effect of our legislation; and that they say of us-How dreadful that you should legislate on the supposition that there are Gods! Shall we make a defence of ourselves? or shall we leave them and return to our laws, lest the prelude should become longer than the law? For the discourse will certainly extend to great length, if we are to treat the impiously disposed as they desire, partly demonstrating to them at some length the things of which they demand an explanation, partly making them afraid or dissatisfied, and then proceed to the requisite enactments.
Cle. Yes, Stranger; but then how often have we repeated already that on the present occasion there is no reason why brevity should be preferred to length; who is “at our heels”?-as the saying goes, and it would be paltry and ridiculous to prefer the shorter to the better. It is a matter of no small consequence, in some way or other to prove that there are Gods, and that they are good, and regard justice more than men do. The demonstration of this would be the best and noblest prelude of all our laws. And therefore, without impatience, and without hurry, let us unreservedly consider the whole matter, summoning up all the power of persuasion which we possess. >>
Food for thought as we contemplate the need for comparative difficulties analysis. END