Write an argumentative response to a problem raised by the argument "Of course we wouldn't hold our beliefs and values if we weren't convinced that they are true" in "In Praise of the Clash of Cultures" by Carlos Fraenkel.
When writing an argumentative response to a problem raised by the argument "Of course we wouldn't hold our beliefs and values if we weren't convinced that they are true" in "In Praise of the Clash of Cultures" by Carlos Fraenkel, you might consider his use of the word true. True is a fraught word. In the abstract realm of religion and culture, the word true might be too universal.
There's a few ways to argue Carlos Fraenkel's idea that "we wouldn't hold our beliefs and values if we weren't convinced that they are true."
First off, we should note that even Fraenkel isn't so sure that his statement is completely correct. In the very next sentence, Fraenkel says, "But that’s no evidence that they are."
However, if you want to isolate that idea and develop an argument for the problems it raises, one way is to contest the use of the word "truth." Who decides what's true and what isn't true? Is truth objective and universal? Is what's true for one person true for the next?
When it comes to less abstract ideas, truth is easier to pinpoint. It's hard to argue that "four plus four equals eight" isn't true. Yet when it comes to the more abstract ideas of religion and culture that Fraenkel addresses, it's almost as if truth is beside the point.
Fraenkel's idea might be putter phrased like this: "Of course we wouldn’t hold our beliefs and values if we weren't convinced that they are meaningful.”
Meaningful might be a more apt word. Meaningful isn't as fraught as truth. Something can mean something to us without us it necessarily being true. Think about how many of us get meaning from fictional movies, TV shows, and books. These aren't real or true. They're made up. Yet that fact doesn't change how important they are.
In his essay, Fraenkel seems to extol debate among unlike cultures. "When we can transform the disagreements arising from diversity into a culture of debate, they cease to be a threat to social peace," says Fraenkel.
Yet if something means something to us, why do we have to debate it? Why should we feel pressured to defend it or argue on its behalf? You might want to argue that Fraenkel isn't really interested in truth or meaning. What he really wants is debate and discussion.
I'd argue that debate and conversation don't produce truth or meaning so much as more debate and conversation. Look at social media. There's lots of debating and talking on social media. Is that leading to more truth and meaning?
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