In the original “Republic”—the one by Plato—a distinction is made between dialectic and eristic. The former is argument made in good faith, with the goal of apprehending the truth; the latter is argument as performance, with the goal of tearing down one’s opponent.
It is hardly possible to overrate the value . . . of placing human beings in contact with persons dissimilar to themselves.” He then admitted, with some resignation, that this describes the Internet we should want, not the Internet we have.