• “This meaning-argument is of a very different kind from the arguments I have been speaking about so far. The premise entails the conclusion all right, but it is so astoundingly false that it defies criticism, at first, by the simple method of taking the reader's breath away. This was a method which the neo-Hegelian idealists later perfected: reasoning from a sudden and violent solecism. Say or imply, for example, that in English “value” means the same as “individuality.” You can be miles down the track of your argument before they get their breath back.
    This method is not only physiologically but ethologically sound. Of course it should never be used first. You need first to earn the respect of your readers, by some good reasoning, penetrating observations, or the like: then apply the violent solecism. Tell them, for example, that when we say of something that it is a prime number, we mean that it was born out of wedlock. You cannot go wrong this way. Decent philosophers will be so disconcerted by this, that they will never do the one thing they should do: simply say, “That is NOT what ‘prime number’ means!” Instead, they will always begin … [by] casting about for an excuse for someone’s saying what you said, or a half-excuse, or a one-eighth excuse; nor is there any danger that they will search in vain.”

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