Considering all the stuff we know about argumentative strategies, you'd think we'd be above a little rhetorical manipulation.
Philosophy is fun, but it should be funner, c.f. bad grammer. I'm probably abnormal in my sensitivity to agressive argumentative strategies and the use of rhetorical manipulation. Afterall, I feel dumb all the time, and when someone tries to make me feel dumb without addressing my argument fairly, I can't help the overwhelming sensation to go cry in my office [or smash some teeth in]. Don't get me wrong, rhetorical manipulation is often quite useful, and it's often a great source of humor, see current administration for both types. But most of the time it's just annoying and unproductive. Sure it can get us immediate gradification--when our objectors storm off or become silent we're the winner right? Ultimately its use just makes one look like an ass; intellectual perhaps, but no less stinky butt. Further, it's use makes us bad philosophers.
I suspect that these argumentative strategies are unintentional, and so I doubt they'll go away. Heck, it's so prevalent in the literature and at conferences you'd think it was expected of us. But I'm inclined to think that it's in everyone's best interest in this department to call each other out when it happens, in class and in posts. Keep each other philosphically accountable, so to speak.
But perhaps I'm being overly idealistic to suppose that in a philosophy department we'd want to win our arguments based on soundness or cogency, rather than an appropriatly timed ad hominem or straw man (to mention some popular forms). Perhaps it's not in everyone's "best" interests after all. I'm open to counter-examples. Heck, I probably am one.
Any thoughts? (Note: I know I've even used some in this post, point them out!)