L. Susan Stebbing, fidèle platonicienne et indispensable contemporaine.
Quand un peuple se déchire, chacun des citoyens devrait se convaincre de la vérité de ces lignes publiées en 1939 par une philosophe logicienne dont j'ignorais malheureusement tout et même l'existence avant un certain billet de Pascal Engel :
" I agree, again, with Lord Baldwin that most electors are " only imperfectly prepared to follow a close argument." That being so, the politician who seeks to win an election must resort to persuasion. He " must " because , first, he seeks to get something done - to put a policy into effect ; secondly, in order to achieve his policy, his party must be returned to power ; thirdly, the victory of the party at the polls depend upon the votes of electors who are beset by hopes and fears and who have never been trained to think clearly. Consequently, rhetorical persuasion will in fact be substituted for rational argument and for reasonable consideration of the difficulties that confront any democratic government. This grim practical necessity is, however, no matter for congratulation. If the maintenance of democratic institutions is worth while, then the citizens of a democratic country must record their votes only after due deliberation. But " due deliberation " involves instruction with regard to the facts, ability to assess the evidence provided by such instruction and, further, the ability to discount, as far as may be, the effects of prejudice and to evade the distortion produced by unwarrantable fears and by unrealizable hopes. In other words, the citizens must be able to think relevantly, that is, to think to some purpose. Thus to think is difficult. Accordingly, it is not surprising, however saddening it may be, that many of our statesmen do not trust the citizens to think, but rely instead upon the arts of persuasion." (Thinking to some purpose, p.9, Pelican Books, 1945)
Certes, pour adhérer à ce propos, il ne faut pas croire avec les sirènes post-modernistes que les faits ne sont que des interprétations et que tout en fin de compte n'est qu'affaire de persuasion !